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The Independent Critic

Machiko Kyo, Kazuo Hasegawa, Isao Yamagata
Teinosuke Kinugasa
Kan Kikuchi (Play), Teinosuke Kinugasa and Masaichi Nagata
86 Mins.
Eureka Entertainment ("Masters of Cinema" series)
24-PAGE BOOKLET containing a new essay by critic Philip Kemp; vintage writing about the film by Carl Theodor Dreyer; and rare archival imagery

 "Gate of Hell" Arrives on Blu-ray With Masters of Cinema 
If you're a true cinema geek, then you may have been just like me and waiting for the day when Kinugasa's 1953 classic Gate of Hell would be released on Blu-ray.

The wait is over.

Eureka Entertainment has added the film to its increasingly impressive Masters of Cinema series, a series not too far removed from the U.S.-based Criterion Collection. Gate of Hell won the Grand Prix at Cannes, two Academy Awards (Best Foreign Film and Best Costume Design) and was named by Martin Scorsese as one of the ten greatest color achievements in world cinema.

Gate of Hell was one of the major films in the 1950's to come into the foreign market from Japan, and moviegoers were absolutely awed by the film's marvelous color cinematography and simply the power of its action. The film is a period drama set during a period of feudal unrest in the 12th century. Samurai Morito (Kazuo Hasegawa) manages to protect the palace from a rebellion while saving the life of the empress. When offered a reward, he requests marriage of the woman he used as a decoy to squelch the rebellion, Kesa (Machiko Kyo). Kesa is already committed to another warrior Isao Yamagata), and when Morito refuses to withdraw his request the stage is set for a story of tremendous drama and eroticism.

The film comes with a wealth of extras befitting of this extraordinarily well put together packaging, something that seems to be the rule for Eureka Entertainment and this fantastic Masters of Cinema series. For more information on the film, check out the Eureka website. If you're ordering from the U.S., however, be sure that your Blu-ray player is equipped to handle multi-region viewing.

© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic