Hopefully will be able to keep this series going every week, more than dramas or Idols my passion is Japanese films and especially older ones. Even though there's twice as many viewers than there were a few years ago tend to get many less comments, that's probably becausde there haven't been as many posts for actresses, dramas and films.
But had been trying to go back to what this blog once was and was doing a good job at it with many drama recaps until my laptop decided it preferred Idol posts more and crashed. You'll be noticing in these posts how much I prefer older films, some new ones from the past decade have been quite good but for the most part Japanese films have gone way downhill.
To me they've become too much like American films with much bigger budgets and seem to be concerned with the bottom line more than anything else. I consider a week going from Monday to Sunday so that'll be the order of what I viewed last week, any comments are appreciated. Also all of the films I've bought on DVD, used to be easier to find them at stores but not so much these days.
Battles Without Honor and Humanity: Final 1974 98 minutes
Bunta Sugawara, Akira Kobayashi, Kinya Kitaoji, Jo Shishido
Will be posting the trailers for the best two films of the week, at the top is the one for this film. However I think that the third film was the second best of the week but there was no trailer for it, then again it was kind of neck and neck for which movie took second place. Not going to give reviews of the films as it'd mean a post would be 10,000 words, will just give some of the details about them as often there's plenty of reviews already done.
Won't go into too much detail about this film which was the fifth and final movie of the five part series that was released in 1973-74. Watched all five in a row and it was about the tenth time viewing the series. If you like a lot of action and are into Yakuza films then this is one film series that is truly a must watch, without a doubt the best Yakuza films ever made. So many of my fave actors were in the series, way too many to list but the main star was Bunta Sugawara who may have been my fave actor from the 70's.
Rusty Knife 1958 90 minutes
Yujiro Ishihara, Mie Kitahara, Akira Kobayashi, Mari Shiraki
This film is part of the 'Nikkatsu Noir' five movie box set which is my #1 collection of all time. All of the movies are in black and white and all are considered to be truly lost classics. Another Yakuza film but there's so much more going on than just that. Yujiro Ishihara is one of the biggest films stars in Japanese history, perhaps even the biggest one. He always had the lead in his films and back in those days most actors would appear in ten or more films.
These days it seems insulting for an actor to appear in two films, think it's more of a case of pay be a lot of money and let be live a life of luxury. The female lead in the film was Mie Kitahara who also was someone who appeared in at least ten films a year. She was one seductive looking gal, especially in "I Am Waiting" from 1957. She ended up marrying Yujiro at the end of 1960 and retired, when he died in 1987 he was worth close to 1.5 billion yen and in 1987 a dollar equaled 152 yen. Also in the film was Akira Kobayashi who became such a mega star and is another of my big faves.
A Colt is my Passport 1967 85 minutes
Jo Shishido, Jerry Fujio, Chitose Kobayashi
Second film from the 'Nikkatsu Noir' box set, all five films are highly recommended and to me this was the best of the bunch. It was my second fave movie of the seven I watched but there's no trailer out there for it, the film was definitely a lost classic. Jo Shishido was another huge fave of mine from this era, he's still kicking and he'll be turning 85 later on this year.
Not quite another Yakuza film but in it Jo played Shuji who was hired to assassinate a mob boss. The killing went smoothly but after events backfired as him and his partner played by Fujio were unable to flee from Japan. Two mob families were on their tail for revenge and the ending was truly out of this world, Shuji was a a bad guy but you still hoped he could elude the two families.
Black Test Car 1962 95 minutes
Hideo Takamatsu, Jiro Tamiya, Junko Kano
These last three films have all been in black and white, seems that style adds a bit of edginess into the plots. Wonder if things like what happened in the film actually did take place and if so wonder if it still happens? Story was off a car company about to manufacture a new sports car but the designs for it were stolen by their hated rivals.
Both companies were heavily into spying on each other and there were no methods they wouldn't do to steal their rival's secrets. Quite intense all the way through but like all of these short bits about the films won't give away any spoilers but what a cutthroat world business can be. Takamatsu had the lead role in the film, what a brutal character he turned out to be and another highly recommended film he was in was "Giants and Toys" from 1958.
Red Peony Gambler 1 1968 98 minutes
Junko Fuji, Ken Takakura, Tomisaburo Wakayama
Long films are not my cup of tea, sometimes they're okay but much prefer to view movies between 85-100 minutes in length and all of the ones for today fall in that range. This was an eight part film series that came out between 1968-70 but have only seen the first four. All have been solid and can't say that one stands out more than any other.
The series takes place in the late 1800's, Junko in this first film played Ryuko who was looking for the man who killed her father. She did eventually find him and it ended up in quite a showdown at the end as her and two others managed to defeat an army of over fifty mobsters. Lot of violence but not in an over the top style as Ryuko is a bit of a classy woman, an expert gambler too. Junko is quite a famous actress who eventually changed her first name to Sumiko.
Wandering Ginza Butterfly 1 1972 85 minutes
Meiko Kaji, Tsunehiko Watase, Tatsuo Umemiya
My fave of the seven films viewed last week and will also be the first of many Meiko watches in this series. Everyone probably has their all time #1 gal and for me it's easily Meiko, the way she looked from 1970-78 is untoppable and what a diverse actress she was. Most weeks expect to see one of her films here, perhaps I'll do a post or two for her in the future and there's no doubt they'll be the least viewed ones ever here. Meiko is known best outside of Japan for her 'Lady Snowblood' and 'Female Scorpion' series but my faves are the five 'Stray Cat Rock' films, in total I have 22 DVD's of her.
Little bit of everything in this film.... The Yakuza, hostess clubs, killings and more but the best part of the film was the billiards. Meiko played Nami who had recently been released from prison. Near the end she's in an intense billards match to save her hostess club along with her uncle's pool hall. May not sound too exciting but the match is one of the best scenes you'll ever see. Also in the film are two more of my fave actors from the sixities and seventies who are Tsunehiko and Tatsuo, they're both have been in well over a hundred films and both were so superb in the 'Battles Without Honor and Humanity' series, Meiko was in the second film.
The Mysterians 1957 88 minutes
Kenji Sahara, Takashi Shimura, Yumi Shirakawa, Momoko Kochi
Final view of the week was a mini calssic, not a huge sci-fi fan but do love most of the older monster films. What I really enjoy are the special effects which took much more work and imagination back then, these days you don't need as much talent as a computer can do most of the work for you. There should be plenty more entries in the next few weeks of this genre, have over ten Godzilla DVD's and a few others with my fave creature being Mothra.
The Mysterians were aliens from the asteroid Mysteroid who have landed on Earth for peaceful reasons. But the humans don't think so as the Mysterians requested a small patch of land plus they want some human women to marry to keep their race going. The aliens are much more advanced than the Earthlings but in the end you kinow who the victors were, this is one of the better older
sci-fi films you'll ever see. First pic isn't from the film but from the set of the first Godzilla film which starred Momoko who was quite an attractive woman. Final pic is of the 200 foot moster/robot Mogera in who has appeared in other films.
The format will be a work in progress, think this first post worked out fine but sure there will be a few tweeks along the way. Not going to grade these films, most I've seen already so a rewatch means it's good enough for repeat viewings. Final video for these posts will be of the trailer of the week's number one film, all were deserving but the first "Wandering Ginza Butterfly" movie took the first honors in this series. However don't have the trailer as I thought this short clip of the billards match at the end is a much more enjoyable watch.