In a Ring of Mountains / Seven Miles to Nakayama / Nakayama shichiri (1962)

Nakayama shichiri is another of those Japanese movies that turn out not to be what you expect them to be. As it stars Raizo Ichikawa and is directed by Kazuo Ikehiro, one of the Daiei standbys with a number of Zatoichi, Sleepy Eyes, and Shinobi no mono films on his resumĂ©, you can be forgiven … Continue reading In a Ring of Mountains / Seven Miles to Nakayama / Nakayama shichiri (1962)

Black Line Zone / Kurosen chitai (1960)

An American film noir in everything but its cast and setting, Black Line Zone is an impressive, tight, and tense thriller. Shigeru Amachi, one of the most attractive Japanese leading men of the era, plays a daring reporter, known as Scoop, of course. As the movie opens, he's following a prostitute who can lead him … Continue reading Black Line Zone / Kurosen chitai (1960)

Danger Stalks Near / Hanging by a Thread / A Candle in the Wind / Fuzen no tomoshibi (1957)

Three small-time hoods hear rumors of a rich old woman living outside the village and decide to break in and steal her cash when she is alone with her daughter-in-law. This is a basic set-up for crime movies the world over. But it is also a movie written and directed by Keisuke Kinoshita, so before … Continue reading Danger Stalks Near / Hanging by a Thread / A Candle in the Wind / Fuzen no tomoshibi (1957)

Blue Sky Maiden / The Bright/Cheerful Girl / Aozora musume (1957)

Ayako Wakao was a big star among young audiences during the early fifties. With her pure ingenue looks that would have made her an ideal teenager even in America, it's easy to see how. Like Mie Kitahara, she personified a new kind of Japanese girl/woman for audiences eager to find a new, modern expression. Underneath … Continue reading Blue Sky Maiden / The Bright/Cheerful Girl / Aozora musume (1957)

Shozo, A Cat, and Two Women / Neko to Shozo to futari no onna (1956)

All but unknown outside of Japan, Shozo, a Cat, and Two Women is one of the most surprising and entertaining movies of the fifties, not just from Japan but from any country. Shozo is your average man, a typical shomin-geki hero who just wants a quiet life. But he has woman-trouble from every angle, not … Continue reading Shozo, A Cat, and Two Women / Neko to Shozo to futari no onna (1956)