Kaidan (1964, JAP) C-164m. SCOPE *** D: Masaki Kobayashi. Starring Rentaro Mikuni, Michiyo Aratama, Misako Watanabe, Tatsuya Nakadai, Keiko Kishi, Katsuo Nakamura, Tetsuro Tamba, Kanemon Nakamura, Osamu Takizawa. Classic anthology of ghost stories made up of four separate tales: In "Black Hair", a samurai leaves his wife for a wealthier woman, is taught a lesson upon his remorseful return. "The Woman in the Snow" is a similar story of delusion and late retribution. "Hoichi the Earless", the longest segment, is about a blind musician who gets closer to spirits than he may wish, and "In a Cup of Tea" there's a ghostly apparition. Often slow and ponderous, but magnificent color cinematography speaks for itself. Studio settings lend it a contained, almost claustrophobic but stylish atmosphere. Based on the book by Lafcadio Hearn. Original U.S. release omitted the second episode, DVD release restored it, but it's still short of 20 minutes of the Japanese original version. English titles: KWAIDAN.

© Ron Altman