Sleepy Eyes of Death: The Mask of the Princess (1966)

Sleepy Eyes of Death: The Mask of the Princess (1966)

Released: 1966
Genre: Action, Drama, Genre
Director: Akira Inoue
Starring: Ichirô Nakatani, Yaeko Mizutani, Raizô Ichikawa, ,
Run time: 85 min
IMDb: 6.7/10
Country: Japan
Views: 155538


Princess Kiku, Shogun’s daughter, wants revenge on Nemuri Kyoshiro for embarrassing her.
User Reviews: The Mask of the Princess brings back Princess Kiku from the fourth entry, Sword of Seduction. The facially scarred Princess Kiku is the most memorable villainess thus far in the series. Perhaps because of that I set my expectations a little too high.

First off, this seventh entry is an enjoyable film in its own right. Early on, Kyoshiro Nemuri rescues a young lady sold into prostitution. This girl hates samurai because one killed her father. Nemuri also meets a samurai on a quest for vengeance. Nemuri’s peaceful adventures soon ends. Nemuri is first threatened by assassins and then he is framed for the murder of two women, each with a cross drawn on their body. Eventually, Nemuri figures out that Princess Kiku is back for revenge.

Much of the The Mask of the Princess is structured as a series of assassination attempts. The most ingenious one involves a bedroom becoming a cage. Eventually, Nemuri takes the fight to Princess Kiku’s country estate. This leads to a rousing finale. One of the locations consists of a barren wood around which makeshift crosses with nooses have been set up. It is a memorable location for the finale. Nemuri even has to face an enemy using Nemuri’s Full Moon Cut against him.

The Mask of the Princess is reasonably exciting. In addition, the film has a couple of beautifully colorful backdrops. This is a good film. However, after the kill fest of the sixth film, this seventh entry feels a little like a missed opportunity. Princess Kiku does not do that much, other than laugh and vow to kill Nemuri. Even the rescuing of the young lady who dislikes samurai seems awfully familiar coming after the last entry, where Nemuri rescued a boy who disliked samurai.

The Mask of the Princess lacks that the extra something special. The fourth entry, which introduced Princess Kiku, had Gothic ambiance in spades. The sixth entry, Sword of Satan, had a high body count. The second entry, Sword of Adventure, had the most heart. Those are the three best entries in the series thus far. The Mask of the Princess, while certainly entertaining, is not quite at their level. However, die hard fans of the series might love the film more than I did.

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