Saturday, May 5 at 7PM & Sunday, May 13 at 4PM
Harvard Film Archive, 24 Quincy Street, Cambridge, MA 02138
In Inoue’s follow-up to The Winner, Yujiro Ishihara plays a seaman who joins the crew of a rusty cargo ship to avenge himself on his father’s enemy. Also on board is another new hand with a secret, played by a buff, shirtless Rentaro Mikuni. Ishihara’s bad attitude immediately gets him into trouble with the crew, which he escapes with his fists. He finds an unlikely ally in Mikuni, who has reason to dislike and distrust him. Ishihara also attracts the attention of the two women on board, a sultry stowaway and the captain’s high-spirited daughter—played by Ruriko Asaoka—who has already been claimed by the short-fused first mate.
The story, which Inoue first scripted when he was still an assistant director, does not play out in obvious ways, just as Ishihara’s character is hard to classify. He is neither a heartless toughie nor a pure-minded exemplar, but something new to Japanese films: a dirty hero with his own sense of justice and a way with song.
Inoue shot nearly the entire film aboard a real WWII cargo ship in Tokyo Bay, halting only when a typhoon threatened to send his ship, cast and crew to the bottom. The real pitching, rolling, and spray of seawater he captured add to the air of danger, excitement and, in the scenes of a cocky Ishihara singing to a wary-but-fascinated Asaoka, erotic tension. – Adapted from Mark Schilling in Asia Sings! A Survey of Asian Musical Films.
Directed by Umetsugu Inoue. With Yujiro Ishihara, Rentaro Mikuni, Ruriko Asaoka
Tickets go on sale 45 minutes prior to show time. The HFA does not do advance ticket sales.
Japan 1957, DCP, color, 115 min. Japanese with English subtitles
Curated by Tom Vick and generously funded by the Inoue & Tsukioka Movie Foundation.
Special thanks: Sabrina Baracetti, Thomas Bertacche, Roger Garcia and Mark Schilling—the Far East Film Festival, Udine, Italy and the National Film Archive of Japan, Tokyo.