Monday, June 5, 2017

SEEING A PAIR OF TOHO FILMS! A Double Feature of Crime and Horror!

Evil of Dracula poster on display in the theater lobby. Photo by Brett Homenick. 

Tonight was another evening of Toho movies at the Laputa Asagaya. Tonight's double bill began with Jun Fukuda's Dai Nippon Suri Shudan (1969), a crime story (with strong elements of comedy) that pits a determined detective against a gang of pickpockets in Osaka. The detective (played by Keiju Kobayashi) and the leader of the gang (played by Norihei Miki) have an interesting wartime backstory together that fuels much of the story.

A poster for Dai Nippon Suri Shudan on display. Photo by Brett Homenick.

At one point, the detective attempts to arrest a gang member (played by a particularly dapper Akihiko Hirata) in a pachiko parlor after he catches Hirata's criminal in the act of pickpocketing. Hirata escapes, and Kobayashi gives chase. The ensuing chase through the streets of Osaka was quite exciting, bringing a bit of cinema verite to the proceedings that was often missing from Toho films during the 1960s. The chase ends when a car hits and kills Hirata's character, and the effect was surprisingly convincing.

I didn't know what to expect from the film, but it works on several levels. The comedy and drama seemed to blend well, and the audience I saw it with laughed with the film when it was funny. I'd strongly recommend this film to anyone who's still under the false impression that Jun Fukuda was some second-rate director.

Tonight's other film was Evil of Dracula (1974), which I'd rank as my favorite of the Bloodthirsty trilogy. (Lake of Dracula would get ranked at the bottom for me, but I still enjoy it.) It was a joy to see this one on the big screen in glorious 35mm. The detail in the gore effects at the end of the film was quite evident onscreen and was something of a revelation. Fun stuff!

No comments:

Post a Comment