Byaku Fujin No Youren (The Legend of the White Serpent)

Laputa Theater in Asagaya is currently screening this 1956 Toho-Shaw Brothers co-production at 2:40 pm until Tuesday July 7th. It is part of the Laputa’s current series about actor Ryō Ikebe, who plays Kyosen. It is also is the first special effects color film by Toho, with the special effects created by Eiji Tsuburaya, best known for Godzilla. Personally, though, my initial interest in watching the film is to see Japanese film star Yamaguchi Yoshiko (playing the titular White Snake) who is also known as Chinese film star Li Xianglan before the end of World War II.

This film, in Japanese based on a Chinese legend co-produced by a Japanese and a Chinese film company starting Yamaguchi Yoshiko/Li Xianglan based on a novel by youthful communist turned apologist for Japan’s empire Hayashi Fusao, who, along with Tsuburaya, was purged from public society during US occupation, makes it even more of a must see. Throw in my youthful interest in Chinese film and, well, I’m happy to be able to go this Tuesday.