The dynamic, handsome, and versatile movie star Tatsuya Nakadai was a stage-trained performer who got his start on-screen during Japan’s 1950s cinematic golden age. He has continued to work since then, and now, at age eighty-one, has appeared in nearly 150 movies. In this week’s festival of free films on Hulu, Nakadai, we pay tribute to this incredible actor with a selection of films from the fifties, sixties, and seventies.
A good place to start is Masaki Kobayashi’s Black River, which features Nakadai in his breakthrough role as a yakuza wannabe. And be sure to get immersed in Kobayashi’s mammoth war epic The Human Condition (parts 1 and 2, 3 and 4, 5 and 6), which gave Nakadai probably his most emotional, rangy role. And there's so much more: Akira Kurosawa’s Yojimbo, Sanjuro, and High and Low; Kobayashi’s Harakiri and The Inheritance; Hiroshi Teshigahara’s The Face of Another; and Hideo Gosha’s action film Bandits vs. Samurai Squadron.
Also on offer is the rarely screened 1970 Masahiro Shinoda film The Scandalous Adventures of Buraikan. In this stylish, colorful, comedy-tinged jidai-geki, Nakadai plays a fortune-teller who dreams of becoming an actor and lives under the thumb of a domineering mother. Watch the film, unavailable on disc in the U.S., below or at Hulu. And remember, if you sign up for Hulu Plus for just $7.99 a month, you can see these and hundreds of other Criterion films commercial-free, anytime.