Wednesday, December 18, 2019


The Kabuki actor (Kazuo Hasegawa) onstage in
An Actor's Revenge

An Actor's Revenge is Kom Ichicawa's film about a Kabuki actor named Yukitaro who as a youth had his parents led to suicide by three men. The film depicts his infiltration of these men's lives in later years with the intention of  extracting a little payback on them.  His plan is complicated by his feelings for one of the men's daughters, who in turn has fallen in love with Yukitaro. I tend to like these Japanese films with Kabuki actors: The Story of the Last Chrysanthemums, Ballad of Narayma, Late Spring among others. 

The character of Yamitaro is most interesting. He appears in feminine form onstage...and has the same persona offstage. This persona is what the daughter of one of the revenge targets falls in love with. She is originally just a vehicle for Yamitaro to help with his plan, but he does begin to have real feelings for her. But what exactly are the extent of these feelings? Whatever they are, they do complicate his plan. I do think their relationship is the heart of the film.

The world's a stage for Vincent Price
in Theater of Blood

I tried to think of another actor's revenge themed movie to team An Actor's Revenge with and the obvious choice for me is the 1973 film Theater of Blood featuring Vincent Price as a hammy Shakespearean actor named Edward Lionheart who takes revenge on his critics by killing them one by one by methods adapted directly from his Shakespearean roles.I first saw this on late night telly at my Aunt's house forty years ago! So a revisit was interesting.

There is a lot of good here. Price is appropriately over the top with his Shakespeare soliloquies and also the administering of his murders. For example, he gets one of his critics to kill his wife in a jealous rage like in Othello or tries to gauge out the eyes of another a la King Lear. The film also has the plus of a young Diana Rigg as his complicit daughter.

However, there are problems with the plot. Chief among them is the fact that there is a police investigation into the killings and they figure out that Lionheart is committing the murders and have the targeted critics under police surveillance. However, the police are so casual with watching the critics, they allow several of the critics to be murdered right under their noses! Oh, well. It's still a nice watch for Price fans. 

1 comment:

  1. These Kabuki themed movies are fascinating to watch and Actors Revenge was captivating. How much is acting and how much is real. Acting within acting. good stuff.