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Lone Wolf and Cub

Former Executioner Ogami Itto with Son Daigoro

I have always loved Japanese samurai films. Now, during my quarantine, I have been checking out some of the more marginal samurai series. As of today, I have seen all six of the Lone Wolf and Cub films starring Tomisaburo Wakayama and produced by the Toho studio in the early 1970s. These films include:

  • Lone Wolf and Cub: Sword of Vengeance (1972), dir: Kenji Misumi
  • Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart at the River Styx (1972), dir: Kenji Misumi
  • Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart to Hades (1972), dir: Kenji Misumi
  • Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart in Peril (1972), dir: Buichi Saito
  • Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart in the Land of Demons (1973), dir: Kenji Misumi
  • Lone Wolf and Cub: White Heaven in Hell (1974), dir: Yoshiyuki Kuroda

In all six films, Ogami Itto is pushing a wooden baby carriage which comes complete with an impressive series of armaments, including an early precursor of the Gatling Gun (?!). In White Heaven in Hell, it even turns into a toboggan, enabling Ogami to escape hundreds of attacking members of the Ura-Yagyu clan mounted on skis.

The body count in all six films easily exceeds a thousand, as the combination of Ogami’s swordsmanship and the rapid-fire machine gun built into the baby carriage wreaks havoc on his enemies.

Film Poster for Lone Wolf: Baby Cart in Peril

Obviously the source for the films comes from Japanese comic books known as manga. Below is a panel from one of the comics:

A Feeling for the Manga Source of the Films

Although there is no real dedication to realism or even plausibility in either the films or the comic books, the films are all well-crafted Toho Studio productions and immensely entertaining. There is some minor nudity in the films and a great deal of violence.

 

 

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