Sunday, February 18, 2018

An Evening with a Nikkatsu Actress

Mayumi Shimizu. Photo by Brett Homenick.

Today, I attended a film screening of the Nikkatsu thriller Kill the Outsider (a.k.a. Annihilate Whomever's in the Way, 1960), which starred Keiichiro Akagi, who is often called the James Dean of Japan. Akagi was at the height of his popularity when he died in a car accident at the age of 21 in 1961. Akagi still has a dedicated fan following in Japan to this day. 

I'd never seen this film before, but it looked quite impressive in glorious 35mm. Mike Daneen (who appears in various tokusatsu movies) has a small role as a gangster who puts dynamite in a basketball (or was it a volleyball?), which sets up the climax of the movie.

In attendance for the screening was actress Mayumi Shimizu. She joined Nikkatsu in 1957 and went on to star in numerous films for the studio, often being paired with actor Koji Wada.  She married fellow Nikkatsu actor Yuji Odaka (who appears in Gappa the Triphibian Monster) and is the aunt of Godzilla series actress Megumi Odaka.

Suffice it to say, I enjoyed meeting Shimizu-san. I'm particularly interested in meeting actors and actresses from the Showa era, regardless of which studios they worked for. I'm always interested in discovering new avenues.

Thank you very much, Shimizu-san!

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