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Ozu Collection - The Gangster Films (2-DVD)
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OZU COLLECTION - THE GANGSTER FILMS (2-DVD)
A film by Yasujiro Ozu
Yasujiro Ozu (Tokyo Story) honed his craft in the early 1930s, a time when young Japanese directors were experimenting with cinematic conventions. This 2-disc set features three gangster-genre films in which Ozu mixes a Hollywood-infused dynamism with elements of his later style.
- WALK CHEERFULLY (Hogaraka ni ayume) Kenji 'the Knife' Koyama, leader of a gang of hooligans, falls for the virtuous Yasue. Will he go straight to win her heart or carry on his life of petty crime? Reminiscent of Sternberg's Underworld with its expressionist lighting, Walk Cheerfully combines international cinematic influences with Ozu's own comic touches.
Japan | 1930 | black and white | silent with English subtitles | DVD9 | 92 minutes | Original aspect ratio 1.33:1
- THAT NIGHT'S WIFE (Sono yo no tsuma) Young father Shuji turns to crime to pay his daughter's medical bills. Enter Detective Kagawa for a tense night-time stand-off with Shuji's wife, Mayumi. That Night's Wife demonstrates Ozu's masterly handling of drama as the film reaches its emotional climax.
- DRAGNET GIRL (Hijosen no onna) By day sweet-faced Tokiko (played by Tanaka Kinuyo [Equinox Flower]) is an ordinary typist but come nightfall she's a fun-loving gangster's moll. When her boyfriend strays, Tokiko is forced to reassess her life. Hugely popular when it was released, Ozu's Dragnet Girl remains one of his most enduring silent films .
Japan | 1930 + 1933 | black and white | silent with English subtitles | DVD9 | 63 minutes + 96 minutes | Original aspect ratio 1.33:1
- A Straightforward Boy (1929, 13 mins): a kidnapped boy gets the better of the baddies in this surviving fragment of the film, directed by Ozu, which shot Tomio Aoki, its young star, to fame .
- Ozu: Emotion and Poetry (2012, 10 mins): extract from Asian cinema expert Tony Rayns' 2010 lecture
- Fully illustrated booklet with newly commissioned essays
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Top Customer Reviews
So it comes as a surprise to encounter a group of "Gangster Films" by Ozu, and even more to see them in a slip case displaying shadowed handcuffs, and, both front and back, revolvers! The films reveal that Ozu was much more influenced by American cinema and iconography at this early stage in his career than might have been suspected, and certainly these films are replete with the paraphernalia of Hollywood gangsters--fedoras, American movie posters, pool halls, boxing clubs and gyms, posters advertising international bouts, golf courses, fast cars, and faster women!
All three films are silent, made between 1930-33; they are accompanied by the only surviving remnant of a 1929 gangster film (played largely for laughs), and by an exemplary booklet which contains 4 illuminating articles, by different writers, on the three films plus additional information about the added musical score.
The films can be termed "gangster films" only by the broadest definition -- this is no case of "Murder Inc." or professional hit- men. The gangsters here are all young - from street gangs, boxing clubs, or, in one case, a young husband pushed into crime by poverty and family illness. Two of the three prints, "Walk Cheerfully" and "That Night's Wife", are marred by the blotchy signs of early decomposition.Read more ›