Ninja Hunt (Tetsuya Yamauchi, 1964)

The Criterion Collection, a continuing series of important classic and contemporary films presents Ninja Hunt.

criterion logoWhen the corrupt Tokugawa shogunate seeks to abolish the Matsuyama clan during a transition of power and seize its wealth, it deploys its sinister Koga ninja to destroy an official proclamation that would confirm the clan’s new heir.  Aware of the shogunate plot, the Matsuyama clan hires four ronin whose clans were dissolved in similar plots and charges them to protect the proclamation and ferret out the ninja spies by any means.  These masterless samurai, led by the elder swordsman Wadakuro (Jûshirô Konoe), pursue their vengeance against the Koga ninja with brutal and single-minded intensity.  A masterpiece of the ninja film craze of the 1960s that remains little known outside of Japan, Tetsuya Yamauchi’s first film is a highly suspenseful and bitterly violent thriller.

Disc Features:

  • High-definition digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
  • Trailer
  • New English subtitle translation
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring a new essay by film scholar Alain Silver and critic, novelist, and musician Chris D.

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