Kanto Wanderer / Kanto mushuku (1963)

This may well be the first contemporary dress yakuza movie. Such questions are almost impossible to resolve, depending on definitions, but I haven't come across an earlier movie with yakuza characters in a world where outsiders wear sixties clothes. However, the yakuza themselves still wear traditional Japanese dress, and seem to be firmly in the … Continue reading Kanto Wanderer / Kanto mushuku (1963)

The Only Son / Hitori musuko (1937)

In Ozu's first sound film, we dive once again into the world of the Japanese family. The Only Son is a-typical¬† for Ozu in that it involves a mother and her son, but the story is still set in the poor working-class world of the father films in his late silents. Mother (Choko Iida) works … Continue reading The Only Son / Hitori musuko (1937)

Trapped: The Crimson Bat* / Blind Oichi: Hell Flesh / Mekura no Oichi monogatari: jigoku hada (1969)

Every success will have its imitators, but it is something of a surprise how long it took to turn out B-movie imitations of the super-successful series of Zatoichi films. The most obvious of such rip-offs is the four film Crimson Bat series, which ups the ante by turning the blind swordsman into the blind swordswoman … Continue reading Trapped: The Crimson Bat* / Blind Oichi: Hell Flesh / Mekura no Oichi monogatari: jigoku hada (1969)

Express Train / Kigeki kyuko ressha (1967)

One of the relatively unique genres of Japanese movies is what I've elsewhere called the slice-of-life comedy. When dealing with the salaryman world, this is usually called the shomin-geki, but Americans can occasionally find DVDs of these kinds of comedies that lie slightly outside the shomin-geki world, of which Express Train is a thoroughly entertaining … Continue reading Express Train / Kigeki kyuko ressha (1967)