Goodbye to Another Glorious Gal: Isuzu Yamada

We’re a little late in noting the passing of the great Japanese actress Isuzu Yamada, who died at the age of 95 on July 9th.

Ms. Yamada’s career was an impressive one, spanning more than seventy years over eight decades and including work in classical and contemporary theatre, motion pictures and television.

In the cinema, Ms. Yamada worked with the greatest directors Japanese cinema has produced, including Mikio Naruse, Yasujiro Ozu, Akira Kurosawa, and Kenji Mizoguchi.

Film critic Pauline Kael wrote of Yamada’s work in Kurosawa’s Throne of Blood, an adaptation of Shakespeare’s Macbeth, “There may never been a more chilling Lady Macbeth.”

Peter M. Grilli, president of the Japan Society of Boston, told The Washington Post, “[Yamada] was always the tough girl in movies. If I had to compare her to an American actress, I’d say she was a combination of Bette Davis and Joan Crawford—a very tough, self-aware, aggressive personality.”

For Cladrite readers who may not be familiar with Ms. Yamada’s work, Netflix offers seven of Ms. Yamada’s pictures, spanning a 48-year period.

For more on Ms. Yamada’s life and career, check out the obits at the Washington Post and the New York Times.

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