"Gate Of Hell" Is Released
Gate of Hell (地獄門, Jigokumon?, lit.
hell gate) is a 1953 film directed by Teinosuke Kinugasa. It tells the story of a samurai (Kazuo Hasegawa) who tries to marry a woman (Machiko Kyō) he rescues, only to discover that she is already married to someone else. Filmed using Eastmancolor film, Gate of Hell was both Daiei's first color film and the first Japanese color film to be released outside Japan.
Gate of Hell won the Palme d'Or grand prize award at the 1954 Cannes Film Festival, a 1955 Academy Honorary Award for "Best Foreign Language Film first released in the United States during 1954", and the 1954 New York Film Critics Circle Award for "Best Foreign Language Film".
Originally released as Jigokumen, Gate of Hell was one of the most popular Japanese imports of the 1954-55 American film season. Set in 12th-century feudal Japan, the film stars Kazuo Hasegawa as Moritoh, a samurai whose courage in defending his ruler is to be rewarded with anything he desires. He desires the beautiful, aristocratic Lady Kesa Machiko Kyo who happens to be already married to another samurai, Wataru (Isao Yamagata). Moritoh attempts to persuade Kesa to leave her husband but her devotion is unshakeable. The winner of two Academy Awards and a Cannes grand prize, Gate of Hell is perhaps the most dazzling example of Japanese color photography of the 1950s. The film was based on a well-known play by Kan Kikuchi. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide