Kenji Mizoguchi's nearly four-hour-long 1942 film is one of some two dozen screen versions of Japan's most popular samurai saga—according to Georges Sadoul, the Japanese equivalent of The Three Musketeers. Supposedly made to bolster morale during the war, the film finds Mizoguchi at his most sublime, tracing the story of 47 soldiers who seek revenge on the nobleman who insulted their leader. The concern with the nuances of protocol and the finer points of honor may be incomprehensible to American audiences (at least it was to me), but even when it's hard to say exactly what's going on, Mizoguchi's camera defines the underlying emotions with breathtaking skill. In Japanese with subtitles. 219 min.