Akihiro Tomikawa and Tomisaburo Wakayama in Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart to Hades (dir. Kenji Misumi, 1972).
More literally, "Perambulator Against the Winds of Death." I really don't know what to say about these Baby Cart movies. They're masterfully put together, and always gripping, but the codes--both filmic and ethical--are often opaque to me. Sometimes I get caught up in the unflagging emphasis on samurai honor before it occurs to me that this honor is depicted in an utterly incoherent way. Sometimes Ogami Itto steps in and does chivalrous things for damsels in distress (mostly prostitutes), and sometimes he just stands there with that sour, blank expression on his face (yes, it's both sour and blank) and watches the bad guys raping and killing innocent women. And there's just so much rape. Rape, rape, rape. Rape and killing. Lots of killing. Killing and honor. Every once in a while, when there's a lull in the carnage, li'l Daigoro looks around in wonder at scenes of natural serenity and beauty. At least I think it's wonder; his gaze is as blank and pitiless as his father's.
Labels: Kenji Misumi