In fact, as my PC is back in action, I'm here to talk with you again about movies dedicated to Nobunaga!
Today I'll refresh for you a film dated 1959, Oda Nobunaga - The Lucky Adventurer, a movie that tells Nobunaga's quests covering a span of roughly ten years, from 1551 (Nobuhide's death) to 1560 (the Battle of Okehazama), and how he moved his first steps from "Fool of Owari" to "Conqueror of Japan".
Nobunaga was played by Nakamura Kinnosuke: besides being a popular kabuki actor and some celebrity by now, I'm familiar with this guy because he played Takeda Shingen in "Furinkazan", the taiga drama of 1969 dedicated to Yamamoto Kansuke... Such a familiar face and expressivity, I recognized him almost instantly!
I read that Nakamura (Yorozuya..?) is quite specialized as an actor of jidaigeki, and damn, it shows.
Looking at him playing Nobunaga, or Shingen, is like watching John Wayne playing a cowboy:
Another character that gets to shine in this movie, probably because of Nakamura's acting, is the Hirate Masahide played by Tsukigata Ryunosuke:
Because of this he found himself to face the choice of worrying about Nobunaga or leaving him free-- As it was impossible for him to leave the boy free to face his destiny because he would have restrained him with his worries and scolding, Masahide decided to kill himself, thus throwing Nobunaga in the world of adulhood.
I liked the subtleness of this character: his thoughts and opinions were expressed with his gestuality rather than words, and I found it very intriguing. It made a nice contrast with Nobunaga's acting, brisk and lively.
The disappearance of Masahide lets another character into the scene, the vicious Saito Dousan, Nobunaga's father-in-law, here played by Shindo Eitaro:
Once Masahide died, Nobunaga had to face this first challenge by himself, and he decided to go to meet Dosan to Shotokuji, instead.
Seen as a useless act of bravery, Dosan and his fellow vassal laugh the matter away, but they are forced to change their mind once they realized that Nobunaga's soldiers didn't look just better equipped than the Saito's but that the deal with Nobunaga's "foolery" was all a fraud in the first place, and that Nobunaga was quiiite more farsighted that he looked.
Everything ends in joining hands and singing kumbaya to the shock of Nouhime, who was ready to grieve the death of her husband.
--Nouhime here is played by Kagawa Kyoko.
There's not much to say about her performance: she's only asked to be pretty and devoted, she did it magnificently:
Nouhime covered an important role in the battle of Okehazama, in fact she's the one to give to Nobunaga the idea of ambushing the Imagawa's armies during a stop by carelessly saying that one could attempt to kill more than one man during their sleep.
An interesting character is Hideyoshi, here played by Nakamura Katsuo, who is Shinnosuke's younger Brother nonetheless:
--A special fangirly mention for Satomi Kotaro, that in this movie played the role of Niwa Nagahide, the young Manchiyo:
You may be shocked by his recent picture on Wikipedia..!
Anyway, going back to our story-- After Dosan, who's now Nobunaga's faithful ally, our "adventurer" has to face another huge crisis, the invasion from the army of Imagawa Yoshimoto, who decided to go to Kyoto to proclaim himself as the new shogun, and to do that he entered Owari so to reach the Capital.
Nobunaga showed again his amazing strategic skills. He kept all his vassals in the dark about his plans for a surprise attack, thus destroying the role of Imagawa's spies: in the end those with the most confused ideas were his enemies, who were especting to place Kiyosu under siege.
Nobunaga kept playing the fool, scheming his actions as he put up a vain facade:
On the picture above is Togami Joutaro in the role of Hachisuka Koroku.
Koroku was a so-called "man of the fields", in this movie a ronin who "fell from grace", now a full-time bandit.
It's thanks to him and his band that Nobunaga managed to keep track of Imagawa's army and forced him to stop to take a pause in an appropriate spot to launch his attack.
Imagawa Yoshimoto is played by Yanagi Eijiro:
The "Atsumori" is properly danced before Nobunaga left the castle to launch his attack.
His interpretation is fluid and perfect but it also manages to show some grit, putting all his vassals on alert!!
An interesting scene is that of Nouhime presenting Nobunaga a japa mala, buddhist prayer beads, before he rushed outside:
Nobunaga's grinning face as he approached the Imagawa's camp is priceless:
In the end Nobunaga is victorious, as Yoshimoto got killed without much ado-- The whole battle ended in just two hours!
Nouhime was glad to see her husband back in one piece and together they are celebrated by the people of Owari:
What can I say, it's dated, stereotypical and naive in many parts, but still an entertaining movie.
It doesn't try so hard to give an explanation for everything and when it does it's done in an intriguing way.
I suggest you to give it a try, as I would suggest you to give a try to "Gunfight at the O.K. Corral", then I leave the job to your fancy for jidaigeki!