The Princess Yang Kwei Fei (Y˘kihi) (1955) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Princess Yang Kwei Fei (Y˘kihi) (1955)

The Princess Yang Kwei Fei (Y˘kihi)





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Movie Info

Japanese director Kenji Mizoguchi directed Princess Yang Kwei Fei. When first we see her, the "princess" (Machiko Kyo) is a mere servant girl. The reigning princess dies, and the emperor chooses the servant as his wife. Jealousy and back-stabbing doom this union from the start. Mizoguchi charactistically explores the plight of women in the face of a repressive, chauvinistic society--in this instance, 8th century China. Princess Yang Kwei Fei was originally released as Yokihi. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovimore
Rating: Unrated
Genre: Drama, Art House & International, Science Fiction & Fantasy
Directed By:
Written By: Ching Doe, Matsutar˘ Kawaguchi, To Chin, Yoshikata Yoda, Masahige Narisawa
In Theaters:
On DVD: Jun 16, 1993
Criterion Collection


Machiko Kyo
as Princess Yang
Masayuki Mori
as Emperor Xuan Zong
Sakae Ozawa
as Yang Kuo-chung
Kinzo Shin
as Servant
Eitaro Shindo
as Kao Li-hsi
Haruko Sugimura
as Princess Yen-chun
Isao Yamagata
as Yang Hsien
S˘ Yamamura
as An Lushan
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for The Princess Yang Kwei Fei (Y˘kihi)

Critic Reviews for The Princess Yang Kwei Fei (Y˘kihi)

All Critics (1) | Top Critics (1)

Princess Yang Kwei Fei miraculously reproduces the comings and goings of the hero's thought, and it is in this sense that Mizoguchi's realism is most classical.

Full Review… | January 14, 2013
New Yorker
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for The Princess Yang Kwei Fei (Y˘kihi)

Mizoguchi hasn't failed me yet. I am still compelled even by this minor masterpiece. I am not sure though if he is as good a colorist as his other colleagues. Not that it's not good but it doesn't seem to strike me as much as Kurosawa's or Ozu's color films. The balance of color is really impressive although it's not emphasized as much. It looks too theatrical as opposed a film. However, I am not complaining. Mizoguchi's sense of placement and lightning has always been one of his greatest strengths and it's equally impressive. Princess Yang Kwei Fei is another story concerned about women. Nothing surprising here. The woman ends being the only character with any sense of reasoning, logic, honor amidst the chaos of men. She acknowledges her place in the world Mizoguchi has created and acts like it with pride and altruism.


It's been quite a while since I watched any Mizoguchi. And this one is quite a novelty: it's in color, one of only two color films in his oeuvre. And I might be mistaken, but I think it's only one in a non-Japanese's based on a Chinese legend, kind of a Cinderella story with a tragic twist. It's also less concerned about the suffering of women than is usual for Mizoguchi, and is more about the perils of feudalism. The color is lovely, but I find it incongruous with Mizoguchi's style, and seems to undermine the seriousness of the proceedings (it also highlights the obvious cheapness of the sets). It's far from his best work, but it's satisfying enough. Machiko Kyo is wonderful as always, and her relationship with Masayuki Mori (trivia note: the two also played the couple in Rashomon) is quite touching.

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