Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart to Hades

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.

1 comment:

phaneronoemikon said...


have you seen
Double Suicide (1969)?

it combines a more melodramatic
element and has a bit more
structure. i'm not sure you're
going to enjoy the chanbara.

i actually enjoy the Zatoichi
series a lot better than LWC..

For a campier AND more rapey
and violent try the 3 Hanzo the Razor movies. Has a funk sound-track even thoug its in the edo period.

Personally on that end of the spectrum I like things like
Blind Woman's Curse which isn't so rapey or funky but has more horror elements. and the father of butoh
as a transvestite hunchback ninja!

the rapey stuff shades off into the Pinkku genre which is pretty hard to watch. Blind Beast maybe being an exception, or even Convent of the Beast which is part of the small Japanese Horror Nun movies genre which I do recommend lowly!