When Nakajima Sadao joined Tōei in 1959 the studio was working on overdrive, producing around 100 films a year. The majority of these were genre movies of the more hard-hitting kind. At first chambara (sword-fighting films), then the yakuza eiga (gangster films) at which Nakajima was to excel, chalking up some 60-plus titles until 1998 when he retired from active duty with Yakuza Ladies: Decision, continuing as a professor at Ōsaka's Geidai.
An alumnus of that university of arts and auteur in his own right, Kumakiri Kazuyoshi served as assistant director to Nakajima when the old master realised his long-cherished dream of making another chambara. This is Love's Twisting Path, a resolutely classical genre beauty about a retired master swordsman drawn into the political maelstrom called bakumatsu: the end of Shogunate rule in mid 19th-century Japan. Knowing his history, Nakajima dedicated the film to Itō Daisuke, the father of all politically alert chambara.