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The Hidden Blade

4.6 out of 5 stars 55 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

The epic tale of Munezo, a samurai being displaced in a rapidly changing Japan. After a failed political coup, he is ordered to prove his innocence by finding and killing Yaichiro, a former friend, samurai and brilliant swordsman. Munezo enlists the help of their old teacher who entrusts him with the secret technique of THE HIDDEN BLADE. Now he must choose between duty and honor.

Special Features

  • Behind the scenes featurette with director Yoji Yamada
  • Berlin Film Festival premiere
  • Yoji Yamada press conference
  • Japanese and US theatrical trailers

Product Details

  • Actors: Masatoshi Nagase, Takako Matsu, Hidetaka Yoshioka, Yukiyoshi Ozawa, Tomoko Tabata
  • Directors: Yôji Yamada
  • Writers: Yôji Yamada, Shûhei Fujisawa, Yoshitaka Asama
  • Producers: Hiroshi Fukazawa
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, DTS Surround Sound, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: Japanese (Dolby Digital 5.1), Japanese (DTS ES)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    R
    Restricted
  • Studio: Tartan Video
  • DVD Release Date: August 8, 2006
  • Run Time: 132 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
  • Domestic Shipping: Currently, item can be shipped only within the U.S. and to APO/FPO addresses. For APO/FPO shipments, please check with the manufacturer regarding warranty and support issues.
  • International Shipping: This item is not eligible for international shipping. Learn More
  • ASIN: B000FS9FIK
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #61,284 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Hidden Blade" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By S. Wong on January 15, 2007
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I thought that director Yôji Yamada could not possibly top Twilight Samurai, but I was wrong. This is a great film for even those that are not martial arts fans. The acting is great, the screenplay is excellent and believable. Director Yamada also had great cinematographers and music.

Since the story for both Twilight Samurai and Hidden Blade were written by the same author and took place in the same part of Japan, one reviewer unfairly indicated the story was a rehash of the first. Definitely, I disagree with this assessment.

I don't want to give anything away. For those that are like me, be sure to have a box of tissues handy when you see this memorable film. I rented it and was so taken by the film (even watching it twice during the same weekend), that I purchased the DVD immediately from Amazon.
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Yoji Yamada's "Twilight Samurai" was an extraordinary treat. Following in similar footsteps, "The Hidden Blade" is again a samurai tale where a lower samurai must weigh matters of principle against what is politically and financially advantageous. Shown at film festivals in Berlin & Newport Beach, the main character is Munezo Katagiri whose sister marries out of the household. Masatoshi Magase who played so romantically as the second love interest in "The Sea Is Watching" does the title role. He's very sensitive and honest, but a bit out of touch with his own emotional needs. Takako Matsu who has only made 3 films including 2006's "Suite Dreams" plays the housekeeper Kie. She works hard and lovingly takes care of Katagiri's house. Matsu's beautiful good looks and expressive face make her a charmer. Caste issues divide her from the samurai. When Kie marries, her new family abuses and fails to appreciate her. This results in her illness and rescue by Katagiri who barges into the household and rescues Kie from her own husband! Kie is nursed back to health. Meanwhile Yaichiro Hazama is from the same samurai clan and has gone to the big city of Edo where he gets caught in a plot to overthrow the Emperor. He's brought back home in a basket and imprisoned, rather than being given the dignity of hari kiri. The authorities come to Katagiri and give him the charge of dueling with Hazama, who breaks out of prison and holes up in a rural hut. The lovely Reiko Takashima plays Hazama's wife and comes to barter with the only commodity she has, her body, to try and save her husband's life. She goes to the Chief in charge (forgot his title) and makes a similar deal when Katagiri refuses her.Read more ›
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Format: DVD
Wow! What a delight. I picked "Hidden Blade"up from the local video store on the way home from work. It was just on a whim, based mainly upon superficialities (the cover art, the interesting title, the intriguing plot summary on the back), but am I ever glad I did.

This movie is an absolute gem, packed with engaging storylines and intricate character development. There isn't a tremendous amount of action, per se, but the few scenes demonstrate excellent technique. I was glued to the set the entire movie and was saddened when the movie came to a close at the end.

Pick this up for a wonderful human story satisfy your nostalgic longing for days of love and honor.
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Format: DVD
Yamada Yoji has created the best example of the jidaieki (period film) since Kurosawa. He has done something unique to Japanese cinema by combining elements of the Ozuesque home drama. Also, its timeless plot should even appeal to Japanese audiences who flock to Western films. It offers a much needed change. This film has a very Eastern feel to it, in that the life of a samurai has not been glamourized. Its protrayed in a realistic way. The things that the main character, Katagiri Munezo, must endure, make a good case for the argument that perhaps one is better off just being a regular townsperson.
Throughout the film, there a several examples of classic Ozu films.
In the The Hidden Blade, Katagiri is getting older and is not married. Likewise in Ozu's Early Summer, Hara Setsuko, plays a woman past 25 who hasn't married either. Katagiri becomes a lot like Hara Setsuko's character in that both are stubborn and will get married when they want to and if they want to. Katagiri also shares common charateristics with the father figure of Ryu Chishu's various characters in Ozu films. Some of the dialouge between Katagiri and his servant Kie reminded me of similar scenes from Tokyo Story, when Ryu and his wife are talking.
What I like about this film, is the way inwhich, Yamada humanizes his samurai characters through anecdote. There is a very moving and funny scene of a little girl who is afraid of Katagiri because he carries a sword. Katagiri cannot understand why this girl is afraid and when Kie tells him, he laughs and points out that most of the time samurai never draw their swords. The life of the bureaucract. There are other comedic episodes until the plot has to become serious. That's when the best dramatic scenes come out.
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Format: DVD
Having been thrilled by the director's movie "Twilight Samurai",

I ordered this film. By itself, it is good period drama of the

19th century Samurai period...basically the story of an honorable samurai in a dishonorable world. However, I felt that

the plot and motifs were quite similar to Twilight Samurai. Given the choice of the two films, I would recommend Twilight over this one. I didn't quite get the point of seeing two

very similar movies.
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