The Loyal 47 Ronin
This 1932 adaptation is the earliest sound version of the ever-popular and much-filmed Chushingura story of the loyal 47 retainers who avenged their feudal lord after he was obliged to commit hara-kiri due to the machinations of a villainous courtier. As the first sound version of the classic narrative, the film was something of an event, and employed a stellar cast, who give a roster of memorable performances. Director Teinosuke Kinugasa was primarily a specialist in jidai-geki (period films), such as the internationally celebrated Gate of Hell (Jigokumon, 1953), and although he is now most famous as the maker of the avant-garde silent films A Page of Madness (Kurutta ichipeji, 1926) and Crossroads (Jujiro, 1928), Chushingura is in fact more typical of his output than those experimental works. The film ranked third in that year’s Kinema Junpo critics’ poll, and Joseph Anderson and Donald Richie noted that 'not only the sound but the quick cutting was admired by many critics.