Nishizumi Senshacho-Den (1940)

Run Time - 136 min.  |   Countries - Japan  |  
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Filmed during the war with China, when all films were subject to military censorship, The Story of Tank Commander Nishizumi consequently casts the war in a positive, yet (to Yoshimura's credit) realistic light. With a light touch, Yoshimura tells the life story of Nishizumi, beginning with his early schooling in a Japanese village. Following in his father's footsteps, Nishizumi goes to military school and is sent to the Chinese front. He becomes the leader of a tank regiment and his easy and generous ways quickly win over his soldiers. The film follows Nishizumi and his unit as they move into battle, where Nishizumi proves to be a great leader, respected and admired by his troops. As the Japanese close in on Nanking, Nishizumi is wounded several times, but never leaves the front lines, preferring to command while injured. At the battle of Nanking, Nishizumi is shot and killed by a Chinese soldier. As he dies his soldiers stand loyally around him, and he passes with the words, "All I have done is for my Emperor."