Blind Woman's Curse (UK - BD RB)
Marcus kicks some technical ass but then a black cat stares at him. GULP!
Blind Woman’s Curse (also known as Black Cat's Revenge) is a thrilling Yakuza film featuring Meiko Kaji in her first major role. Playing Akemi, the dragon tattooed leader of the Tachibana Yakuza clan, the deadly fighter slashes the eyes of an opponent and a black cat appears, to lap the blood from the gushing wound. The cat along with the Akemi’s victim go on to pursue Akemi s gang in revenge, leaving a trail of dead Yakuza girls and their dragon tattoos skinned from their bodies.
The image here, though obviously aged (the film was release in 1970) still manages to look dead pretty in that classic Japanese cinema way. Colours, especially reds leap off of the screen and the blue/grey looks of the film do a lot to make the character’s skin and exotic tattoos look detailed and sometimes really quite vivid.
The presentation here is noticeably sharp and clean, with some pretty good black levels and outside of the odd hazier elements, that usually leads to a cut to another scene everything holds up throughout. The cool blue tint to the film reduces a lot of the effect that the natural light might provide in the exterior scenes but it still makes for a stylised look that works and enables colours from the set designs to thrive as they really do draw attention to themselves.
There are some darker scenes that introduce a little more grain and grub to the otherwise good looking presentation but for the most part this is a film that boosts all the right elements to celebrate the super stylised look of the film and for me at least, most everything looked great, even with the odd element that seemed a little compared to the sharper elements of the frame.
The audio track, which is an uncompressed mono PCM affair is a tad scratchy in places but is still relatively well layered and strong in all the right places. Dialogue is sometimes a little muffled but never anything all that distracting, the battles sound great with those fake but awesome swords and slashes reaching out of the mono limitations and the score, while a little lost in the mix sometimes still has its fair share of high points. There’s not a lot more to say about the audio here. It does what it needs to do and feels much cleaner than you’d expect without losing its original dynamics.
The commentary with Japanese Cinema expert Jasper Sharp is a calm, detailed affair and is packed with detail. I genuinely felt like i learnt a ton of new things as i came away from the film and got plenty of knowledge about the Ghost Cat sub genre of Japanese film. This is a great track and does a great job at promoting other films in connected to Blind Woman’s Curse even with the thinnest of links.
Next up is the Trailer, as series of Stray Cat Rock Trailers and in the retail version a reversible sleeve and a collector’s booklet but I didn’t get to have a look at these with my review disc.
Blind Woman’s Curse is kooky and odd and has some really strange little moments but Meiko Kaji is a furious lead that draws you in with her killer stares and emotion fueled responses. The disc looks great for its age and has HD tweaks in all the right places. The audio is also pretty great despite its limitations even though the extras are thin the detailed commentary track more than makes up for anything lacking here.
Note: The images below are taken from the Blu-ray release and resized for the page. Full-resolution captures are available by clicking individual images, but due to .jpg compression they are not necessarily representative of the quality of the transfer.
Review by Marcus Doidge
Suitable only for persons of 15 years and over
Release Date: 24th February 2014
Disc Type: Blu-ray Disc
Audio: LPCM Mono Japanese
Extras: Commentary, Trailers
Easter Egg: No
Director: Teruo Ishii
Cast: Meiko Kaji, Hoki Tokuda, Makoto Satô
Genre: Action, Crime and Drama
Length: 84 minutes
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