I just saw this 1974 film. It’s a sequel to the first Lady Snowblood film, which I haven’t seen, and it’s very different from the comic book version. The comic, as I noted, has Lady Snowblood willing to do anything to anybody to further her vengeance — and there was a nationalist subtext as well, with a loathing of degeneracy and western decadence which felt really fascist.
This, though, has a much more comfortable and familiar morality. Anarchist heroes joining together with the poor to fight the power — it doesn’t get more bourgeois than that. Even the exploitation here is sedate; the one sex scene is between a married couple, for goodness sake. Lady Snowblood splits her time between regretting her past acts of violence and perpetrating carnage on behalf of the downtrodden.
There are certainly some good scenes — Snowblood’s method of fighting is to just sort of walk slowly forward, as dozens of guards launch themselves at her and are dispatched one by one, and that’s entertaining to watch. But overall, and though I hate to say it, the fascist, gratuitous, morally despicable comic is probably better than this right-minded movie. Sometimes the devil does have better tunes.
I do hope to see the original Lady Snowblood movie at some point…though I think netflix doesn’t have it, so it may take a while.
Update: No, scratch that. They do have Lady Snowblood. Why’d I see this one first rather than the original? Got me….