Written by: Michael Den Boer on June 6th, 2017
Theatrical Release Date: Japan, 1965
Director: Kiyoshi Saeki
Writers: Isao Matsumoto, Akira Murao, Hideaki Yamamoto
Cast: Ken Takakura, Ryô Ikebe, Yoshiko Mita, Shinjirô Ehara, Hiroki Matsukata, Michitarô Mizushima, Nobuo Yana
BluRay released: May 16th, 2017
Approximate running times: 90 Minutes
Aspect Ratios: 2.35:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Sound: DTS-HD Mono Japanese
BluRay Release: Twilight Time
Region Coding: Region A
Retail Price: $24.95
The score for the film was composed by Shunsuke Kikuchi whose other notable scores include, Snake Woman’s Curse, Goke, Body Snatcher from Hell, Female Prisoner #701: Scorpion and Sister Street Fighter.
The films narrative explores postwar Japan in the aftermath of World War II. On side of the equation is a clan whose beliefs are rooted on honor and on the other end of this spectrum is a rival clan who preys upon the week for their own financial gain. And their rivalry builds to a fever pitch. With this film’s moment of truth being the moment where the honorable clan being forced to make the difficult choice of staying true to their moral code or fight fire with fire by lowering themselves to the level of the revival clan.
The narrative is well constructed and pacing is never an issue as things move along briskly. The main characters are well defined and the cast are very good in their respective roles. Standout performances include, Ken Takakura (A Fugitive from the Past, Bullet Train) in the role of Seiji, in the role of prodigal son who is thrust in the role of leading of his clan after its leader is murdered by a rival clan and Ryô Ikebe (Pale Flower, The Audition) in the role of Kazama, a Yakuza from another town who main objective it to find his missing sister.
Content wise, this film has all the ingredients one has come to expect from a Yakuza themed film. From a production stand point, there is not an area where this film does not excel. And nowhere is this more evident, than how this film balances its more dramatic moments with its outbursts of violence.
Brutal Tales of Chivalry comes on a 25 GB single layer (24.6 GB) BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive widescreen. Details look crisp, colors look accurate, black levels fare well and there are no issues with compression.
This release comes with one audio option, a DTS-HD mono mix in Japanese and included with this release are removable English subtitles. The audio sounds, clean, clear, balanced and robust when it needs too.
Extras for this release include, an option to view the Twilight Time catalog, an eight-page booklet with an essay about the film written by Julie Kirgo and an interview with producer Toru Yoshida titled Brutal Tales of Filmmaking (15 minutes 28 seconds, in Japanese with English subtitles).
Topics in discussed in the interview include, the origins of Brutal Tales of Chivalry, Ken Takakura, Ryô Ikebe, producer Shigeru Okada, screenwriter Isao Matsumoto, the Abashiri Prison films, director Kiyoshi Saeki, how Hell Is Man’s Destiny is his favorite film in the Brutal Tales of Chivalry film series and background information about other films that he worked on.
Overall Brutal Tales of Chivalry gets a solid release from Twilight Time.
Note: This Blu-Ray release is a limited-edition release of 3,000 copies.