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Category:    Home > Reviews > Martial Arts Cycle > Samurai > Trail Of Blood (1972)

Trail Of Blood (1972)


Picture: C     Sound: C     Extras: C     Film: C+



The beginning of the Mikogami Trilogy, Kazuo Ikehiro’s Trail Of Blood (1972) starts the saga that owes as much to the Samurai cycle of the time as Leone’s Spaghetti Westerns.  It has bloody sword fights, sex, conflict and all the traces of the past the genre is so good at bringing to life.  However, this first film could be called Trail Of Coitus Interuptus, since every fight is preceded by people a potentially passionate sex scene.  A few times is fine, but Yoshihiro Ishimatsu’s screenplay overdoes it, no matter how well intended or whatever the build up in the story tried to pull off.


Despite that, the 88 minutes are otherwise loaded with the usual genre trappings and not much more.  Perhaps the origins get in the way, so we’ll have to see how this works itself out in later films, but it still has enough moments to keep at least fans happy.  Be warned that this is still graphic by today’s standards.


The anamorphically enhanced 2.35 X 1  image was shot in anamorphic TohoScope by cinematographer Kazuo Miyagawa, who shot several Akira Kurosawa classics and several installments of the both the Zatoichi and Lone Wolf & Cub series reviewed on this site, so he is in his element here.  Work has been done to upgrade the film from its original 35mm elements, but the transfer here has detail and depth issues as well as being softer than it should be.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono is harsh and shrill, sounding second generation and needing even more work.  Extras include dual English subtitle options, text program notes, stills and trailers.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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