Kaii Utsunomiya Tsuritenjo - a wonderfully quaint historical piece and director Nakagawa Nobuo's first ghost tale. 'A Ceiling at Utsunomiya' ushers you into a very well-contained tale of Japanese history, political intrigue, fallible heroes, human emotions and yes, even the supernatural.
While Shogun Tokugawa Iemitsu prepares to travel from the Edo capitol to the Toshogu Shrine in Nikko, one of his spies discovers a possible assassination plot scheduled to take place during the Shogun's stop at Utsunomiya Castle. The actual details of the plot against Shogun Iemitsu that is at the heart of the story remain unclear until the very end, though the title is a big clue.
Nakagawa leaves the audience in the blind, peppering the goings-on with ambivalent off-beat characters, striking locations and a mysterious samurai who hides his face beneath a hood and wields his sword with only one hand - using the other to nervously twirl a pair of walnuts.
Tamba's hooded, walnut-twirling samurai makes for a very peculiar villain and the actor succeeds in making the character's nervous tic seem eerily sinister. When the hood finally comes off, the film takes a sharp turn into horror territory that announces the shape of things to come for Nakagawa.
DIRECTED BY: NAKAGAWA NOBUO
STARRING: OGASAWARA HIROSHI, TAMBA TETSURO
1956 - JAPANESE with OPTIONAL ENGLISH SUBTITLES - B&W – FULL SCREEN - 80 MINUTES