Written by: Michael Den Boer on October 18th, 2004
Theatrical Release Date: Japan, January 25th, 1969
Director: Kinji Fukasaku
Writers: Kinji Fukasaku, Hiro Matsuda
Cast: Akihiro Miwa, Eitarô Ozawa, Masakazu Tamura, Ayako Hosho
DVD Released: February 25th, 2003
Approximate Running Time: 90 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono
DVD Release: Vitagraph/Ventura
Region Coding: Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $24.99
The main plot revolves around Ryoko Fujio (Akihiro Miwa) a chanteuse who recently arrived in town. Very little is know about her past until men from her past show up one by one and is a series of flashbacks we are given more incite into her back-story. Kyohei (Eitarô Ozawa) is a married man who frequents a member’s only men’s club were Ryoko performs. Kyohei soon becomes infatuated with Ryoko who has spun her web of deceit. Kyohei’s son Wataru shortly after moving in with his father also begins an affair with his fathers’ mistress which only complicates things more.
Black Rose Mansion is an unusual film even by Kinji Fukasaku’s standards. The film relies on the structure that soap opera’s employ. The films lead is drag queen Akihiro Miwa portrays a woman in the film even though it is obvious that a he is a man dressed in drag the moment he first arrives on screen. This helps the film giving it a edgy weirdness that lifts it above your standard melodrama.
Through out the film Fukasaku expertly uses color to emphasize emotions and heighten tension. Black Rose Mansion is a sequel to Black Lizard and unlike its predecessor it lacks the freshness of Black Lizard. Black rose Mansion has some interesting moments most notably the flashback sequences, still in the end this film is one of Fukasaku’s more pedestrian films.
Black Rose Mansion is presented in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the films original aspect ratio. This is one of Kinji Fukasaku’s more colorful films and this DVD captures accurately the films color palette. There are no noticeable artifacts and the overall print used is in good shape, still the detail is not as good as If You Were Young Rage release. Two minor drawbacks that never take away from enjoying the film are the film is a tad to dark at times and grain is more present then in their other Fukasaku releases.
The only audio option included on this DVD the films original Japanese audio track which is presented in a Dolby Digital Mono that is free of hiss or distortion. The audio is clean and the action is always easy to follow. English Subtitles have been included that are easy to read and follow. Unlike previous Vitagraph release like Black Tight Killers and Female Convict Scorpion Jailhouse 41 which had their subtitles burnt into the prints that were used for those releases. This DVD comes with removable subtitles.
Extras include trailers for City of Lost Souls, Happiness of the Katakuris, Audition, Everything Put Together and a trailer for Black Rose Mansion. Other extras include a featurette about the History of the Egyptian Theater and brief liner notes written by Patrick Macias. Rounding out the extras is an interview with Kinji Fukasaku that runs about twenty minutes in length. Fukasaku discusses Black Rose Mansion and Black Lizard with detailed answers. Vitagraph gives this cult classic the special edition DVD it rightfully deserves.