The Burmese Harp/ Harp of Burma/ Biruma no tategoto (1956)

Kon Ichikawa's Burmese Harp was immediately accepted as one of the great humanist anti-war films when it appeared at the Venice Festival in 1956. Considering its story outline, often beautiful photography, and the sincerity of the performances, it would be hard to argue with that opinion, shared by numerous critics of the time and since. … Continue reading The Burmese Harp/ Harp of Burma/ Biruma no tategoto (1956)

Desperado Outpost/Dokuritsu gurentai (1959)

From the moment we fade in on Makoto Sato stretched out across the plains (and the widest possible 'scope screen), we know we have stumbled onto something completely unexpected. Desperado Outpost is a kind of movie we never associate with Japan, a wild piece of pure entertainment that has nothing to do with samurai, yakuza, … Continue reading Desperado Outpost/Dokuritsu gurentai (1959)

Don’t Tell Your Wife About It/ Madame Shall Not Know/ Okusama ni shirasu bekarazu (1937)

While this is an entertaining little shomin-geki comedy, it holds some additional interest on a social level. We meet two hen-pecked husbands who get maneuvered by a series of misunderstandings into fighting to protect their wives' honor. I think immediately of Laurel and Hardy's sound shorts, but this doesn't have the pratfalls or extended sight … Continue reading Don’t Tell Your Wife About It/ Madame Shall Not Know/ Okusama ni shirasu bekarazu (1937)

Advance Patrol/ 300 Miles Through Enemy Lines/ Nichiro senso shori no hishi (1957)

Most viewers would probably be interested in seeing this film today because it was written by Akira Kurosawa during WWII. It was not produced, of course; speculation is that it was not sufficiently patriotic in that the soldiers are in fact ordered to come back alive, but more likely was that it simply required more … Continue reading Advance Patrol/ 300 Miles Through Enemy Lines/ Nichiro senso shori no hishi (1957)