1953 / 89m - Japan
Gate of Hell poster


March 16, 2023


A proper restoration made this film a bit more watchable. The colors do pop and add some visual appeal, but the slow pacing, endless dialogue, and somewhat barren plot didn't really hold the attention. The emotional core of the film just didn't work for me, and that's not good for a drama.

Morito is assigned to protect Kesa, when she is used as a diversion to prevent a coup. Morito falls for her charms and when he's given a wish, Morito asks for her hand. She is already married to another samurai, but Morito isn't planning to step down, and he demands his wish be honored.

I guess you could also label the film as a romance, but the emotions are so stoic and the behavior so formal that it just feels wrong to do so. Performances aren't too bad and some of the shots really look nice, but the film doesn't excel at anything and I just got bored with the drama after a while.