(aka 'The Assassination or 'Assassination')

Directed by Masahiro Shinoda
Japan 1964


 Assassination (or Ansatsu) marked Masahiro Shinoda's first attempt at a period film, and is widely considered to be his finest achievement. Previously gaining fame and status alongside Nagisa Oshima and Kiju Yoshida, challenging established Japanese cinema with tales of reckless youth, The Dry Lake (1960) and the seminal yakuza drama Pale Flower (1964) Shinoda graduated from Shochiku, where, like Shohei Imamura, his grounding was working as an assistant to Yasujiro Ozu.

The story of Assassination begins with the events of 1853 when "four black ships" — the foreign steamboats of Commander Matthew Perry — anchored at Edo Bay, sparking civil unrest and the major political maneuvering that saw the end of the Tokugawa Shogunate. At a time when assassination had become a disturbing political tool, Shinoda's film follows Hachiro Kiyokawa (Tetsuro Tamba), an ambitious, masterless samurai whose allegiances drift dangerously between the Shogunate and the Emperor. Filmed in richly stylish black and white 'Scope by cinematographer Masao Kosugi, Shinoda's film explores the character of Kiyokawa as he single-handedly attempts, against a backdrop of betrayal and abrupt violence, to prevent the outbreak of civil war.

With an award-winning score by Toru Takemitsu (Pitfall, The Face of Another) and a deft, twisting narrative structure, Assassination's profound nihilism has a striking contemporary resonance which fiercely displays the director's skill and individual vision.


Theatrical Release: November 1st, 1960

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DVD Review: Eureka (The Masters of Cinema Series) - Region 2 - NTSC

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Distribution Eureka - Master's of Cinema Spine # 20 - Region 2 - NTSC
Runtime 1:44:12 
Video 2.27:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 8.10 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s 

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.


Audio Japanese (Mono) 
Subtitles English, None

Release Information:
Eureka  Video

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio .2.27:1

Edition Details:

• Alex Cox introduction (9:35)

• Production stills gallery
• 24-page liner notes booklet with a new essay by Joan Mellen

DVD Release Date: January 23rd, 2006

Transparent Keep Case
Chapters: 10




This Eureka dual-layered DVD is, as always with them, progressive and anamorphic. It has with solid contrast and relatively good detail. Some may note that it appears to lack the pristine sharpness that can be derived from black level manipulations, but it thankfully seems as though very little altering has been done to this image. The optional off-white subtitles with a black border font are at Eureka's excellent standard. I find Alex Cox always interesting to listen to... and this introduction to the film is no different. He is extremely knowledgeable and shares some relevant information with us. A liner notes booklet is included and a digital gallery of stills. This is a strong action / drama with Nihilistic overtones and I'm thrilled that it has been brought to digital in such a refined package. We strongly recommend!   

Gary W. Tooze


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Distribution Eureka - Master's of Cinema Spine # 26 - Region 0 - NTSC


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