New Release: The Secret of the Urn DVD

Animeigo released 1966’s Japanese adventure movie The Secret of the Urn, by Hideo Gosha, one of the era’s most successful genre filmmakers, on DVD on April 12, 2011. All Animeigo titles are distributed through Entertainment One.

The film stars well-known kabuki actor turned movie star Kinnosuke Nakamura (Bushido: The Cruel Code of the Samurai) as Samanosuke, who, after losing both an eye and an arm to treachery while on a mission for his clan, becomes a ronin who calls himself Tange Sazen. When a stolen urn that contains the secret to a treasure of gold coins falls into his one remaining hand, all sorts of villains, including a high-ranking Shogunate minister, plot to relieve him of his burden — and his life. Unfortunately, the bad guys don’t know about the unique and deadly one-handed fighting style that Tange has developed…

Action-filled and enjoyable, but not as over-the-top or, well, silly as the rogue samurai films that were on tap in the decades to come, The Secret of the Urn (Tange Sazen: Hien Iaigiri) was the late Gosha’s third film of the two dozen he would ultimately direct.

For cineastes with a Far Eastern bent, it’s worth noting that the fictional swordsman Tange Sazen is one of the most active characters in Japanese popular culture, having appeared in countless magazines, books and films since his debut in a Fubo Hayashi serialized novel in 1927.

No special features are on the DVD, which is presented in Japanese with English subtitles and carries a list price of $24.98.


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About Laurence

Founder and editor Laurence Lerman saw Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest when he was 13 years old and that’s all it took. He has been writing about film and video for more than a quarter of a century for magazines, anthologies, websites and most recently, Video Business magazine, where he served as the Reviews Editor for 15 years.