The version I saw was dubbed into Mandarin by Shaw Brothers studio to show in U.S. Chinatown theaters with English subtitles.
It's the story of a desperately poor but brawny young man who sells himself to a rich family as an indentured servant. The family has two marriageable daughters,(one sweet and one greedy), who are being courted by several unseemly suitors. The sweet daughter takes a liking to the new servant who is considered the servants' dog and is the butt of many pranks. She entrusts the care of her beloved pet parrot to the newcomer and has him accompany the party when they're invited to vacation on a friend's island. But there's a terrible storm on the journey and the ship wrecks stranding family, friends, crew and servants on a tiny, barren, deserted island. Immediately a LORD OF THE FLIES scenario begins as everyone's true nature surfaces and the caste system is staunchly challenged as the servants' dog becomes the group's leader and champion.
Unfortunately I just don't have the skills to properly comment on this wonderful film. I've only seen one other film by Inagaki, (CHUSHINGURA), and THE RABBLE is nowhere near as ambitious in scope. However Inagaki tackles some very powerful subjects here and the film is extremely effective. I particularly liked a scene where the castaways are forced to steal eggs from an enormous flock of migratory birds. When the birds turn and attack the scene looks and sounds very much like the gas station scene from Hitchcock's THE BIRDS filmed one year earlier. I wonder if this harrowing scene was actually real as the film's budget didn't seem big enough to include any special effects. The film is marred only by the limitations of it's small budget and a bit of character confusion during the island portion.
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