Takashi Shimura and Toshiro Mifune in Stray Dog (1949) Stray Dog (1949) was the ninth film made by Japanese director Akira Kurosawa and I think it's one of his very best. Like many of my favorite Kurosawa films, Stray Dog features no rogue samurai or mad emperors and it's set in modern Japan instead of … Continue reading Happy Birthday Akira Kurosawa!
Akira Kobayashi in Yasuharu Hasebe's Black Tight Killers (1966) While I was trying to compile a post for the Japanese Cinema Blogathon currently happening at Wildgrounds I read the sad news that one of my favorite Japanese directors, Yasuharu Hasebe, has died after he contracted pneumonia on June 14th. Hasebe was 77 years old, but … Continue reading Remembering Yasuharu Hasebe (1932-2009)
The many faces of Yusaku Matsuda (1950-1989) Toru Murakawa's Resurrection of the Golden Wolf (aka Yomigaeru kinrô; 1979) is a wildly uneven Japanese crime film that left me wishing it had been helmed by another director. The film's script was adapted from a popular novel by Haruhiko Ooyabu and directors like Seijun Suzuki have had … Continue reading Resurrecting Yusaku Matsuda
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but overall 2008 was somewhat of a lackluster year for new Region 1 DVD releases of 1960s and 1970s era films when compared to the previous two years (See: 2006 and 2007). Some of my favorite DVD companies such as BCI Eclipse and most recently New … Continue reading 20 Favorite DVD Releases of 2008: Part I.
Akihiro Miwa and Yukio Mishima on stage together in the '60s "Ever since I first met him here, I've dreamt about Akechi. A vain man who acts like a critic. When his face appears in my dreams it disturbs me. I've never before had such an experience. He looks as if he knew and understood … Continue reading The Decadent World of the Black Lizard
Top: Carroll Baker has just seen the final cut of The Devil with Seven Faces (1971) Bottom: Even a cheap gorilla mask couldn't make the movie any better. Normally I neglect to write anything about movies I dislike. I never have enough time to write about all the films I like so why waste my … Continue reading The Devil with Seven Faces (1971)
At the Britannica blog Raymond Benson has finished listing off his Top 10 Favorite Films of 1968 so if you're interested in the final results stop by and give them a look. I've mentioned on numerous occasions how much I dislike making lists of favorite films myself since they're limited by what I've seen and … Continue reading My Top 20 Favorite Films of 1968
Fay Dunaway & Steve McQueen in The Thomas Crown Affair (1968) A lot has been written about Norman Jewison's 1968 film The Thomas Crown Affair. If the reviews available at IMDb.com are any indication critics and audiences are split over it. I love this stylish '60s crime film. It's one of my favorite movies from … Continue reading Fashion & Passion in The Thomas Crown Affair
One of my favorite Japanese directors is the talented Kinji Fukasaku. When I read about the Close-Up Blog-a-thon being held by Matt Zoller Seitz at The House Next Door today, many scenes from his movies started rushing through my head. Kinji Fukasaku often used close-ups in his films to convey mood and action, so I … Continue reading Making Movies with Kinji Fukasaku
"This film is really in one sense about Lee Marvin. It's about him as a character. He went out to the war and he was a sensitive 17-year-old boy and you know, he was brutalized and in a way, he was expressing himself through violence. He was always trying to recapture his humanity that he … Continue reading Lee Marvin: A Sensitive 17-Year-Old Boy
I recently discovered Mort Todd's terrific website Go Sadistik which is devoted to the diabolikal super-kriminal Sadistik (also known as Kriminal, Kilink and Killing). The site is well worth a look if you enjoy sexy sixties era pulp-style crime thrillers as much as I do. I first read about the Sadistik / Kriminal / Kilink … Continue reading Let’s Get Sadistik!
Many groovy old British television shows have been finding their way onto PAL DVD recently in the UK, but most of them are not available in the US. This is really unfortunate because there were lots of great television programs produced in Britain during the sixties and seventies that are almost unheard of outside … Continue reading Introducing Jason King