GHOST SHIP PART 1 (1957)
aka Yureisen: Zempen
Directed by Sadatsugu Matsuda
Featuring Yaoei Yakichi, Hideo Azuma, Tokumaro Dan
What it is: Samurai drama
A young man goes to a war-torn Kyoto to live with his merchant uncle and become a Samurai, but gets caught up in a class conflict between rebels and a warlord. Disliking his uncle's role in the conflict, he decides to join with the rebels.
As you might expect, this movie only tells part of a story, but not to worry; I also have part two and will be seeing that one tomorrow. Despite the ghostly title, the movie is primarily a drama, and I'm not surprised to find that it was based on a novel; it has that air about it. There is a ghost ship in the story believed to be helmed by the dead father of the protagonist, but exactly what role it plays in the proceedings is still a mystery; its presence isn't acknowledged until near the end of this half. There's also a touch of fantastic content at another point where a deserted mansion is believed to be haunted by demons. On it's own terms, the movie seems to be merely okay; it's one of those movies that looks as if it doesn't quite have the budget to live up to its ambitions, and up to this point, it's only mildly interesting. Then again, since this is only the first half of the story, I may have to wait to see the second half before I can give it a full evaluation. More to come.