director Buichi Saito
Chapter four of the six film series of Lone Wolf and Cub that was produced in the early 1970’s, Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart in Peril (1972) is the first film not directed by Kenji Misumi, but by Buichi Saito. Though some of the players shifted throughout, it carries on the story without dramatic stylistic changes, though does feature some of its own characteristics.
You’ve got the very pulpy lead in with the topless and tattooed Oyuki waylaying a gang of killers with her knife. As in the other films, the Lone Wolf is often sympathetic to the brutality against women, though here is charged with killing Oyuki. He allows her her own vengeance and offers her a noble death. All while the Yagyū clan comes in larger and larger numbers to get their revenge on him.
The battle at the end of Baby Cart in Peril is not so unlike that of Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart to Hades (1972), a showdown on a cliff resembling a quarry with the Lone Wolf blasting away with the guns inside the baby cart and then slaughtering the would-be slaughterers. Only this time, there are even more of them, and the fight goes on in a labyrinth-like pit at the bottom. And this time, the Lone Wolf takes a heck of a greater beating, pretty seriously bloodied up.
Pulpy is probably a good way to describe this episode. Oyuki is a pulp character and the dismemberments and blood geysers are plentiful, if not gratuitous. All with the watchful eyes of Daigoro, the cub, fearlessly facing the world, would-be killers and the killed, even his own death with complete placidity.
I’ve taken my time getting through this series but have decided to push forward and watch the rest with some relative alacrity.