High and LowNovember 26, 1963
An executive of a shoe company becomes a victim of extortion when his chauffeur's son is kidnapped and held for ransom.
The Bad Sleep WellJanuary 22, 1963
In this loose adaptation of "Hamlet," illegitimate son Kôichi Nishi climbs to a high position within a Japanese corporation and marries the crippled daughter of company vice president Iwabuchi. At the reception, the wedding cake is a replica of their corporate headquarters, but an aspect of the design reminds the party of the hushed-up death of Nishi's father. It is then that Nishi unleashes his plan to avenge his father's death.
Tokyo DrifterApril 10, 1966
After yakuza boss Kurata dissolves his own criminal empire, a rival kingpin offers a position to Kurata's top operative, Tetsuya "Phoenix Tetsu" Hondo. When the fiercely loyal Tetsu declines, Otsuka taps unstoppable Tatsuzo the "Viper", a ruthless gun-for-hire, to assassinate him. As the Viper trails his target through the countryside, the agile Phoenix Tetsu grows concerned that one of his former associates has betrayed him.
Cruel Gun StoryFebruary 1, 1964
Businessmen arrange the early release from prison of Togawa, serving time for taking revenge on the truck driver whose carelessness confined Togawa's sister, Rei, to a wheelchair. They want Togawa to hijack an armored truck loaded with 120 million yen; their leverage is to promise him money for surgery for Rei. Togawa consents and plans the heist with three others. The plan is solid, but it doesn't go smoothly. Togawa must improvise, there are traitors somewhere, and double-crosses mount. Can Togawa escape with enough money to help his sister and ensure a passage out of Japan?
A Colt Is My PassportFebruary 4, 1967
One of Japanese cinema’s supreme emulations of American noir, Takashi Nomura’s A Colt Is My Passport is a down-and-dirty but gorgeously photographed yakuza film starring Joe Shishido as a hard-boiled hit man caught between rival gangs.
I Am WaitingOctober 22, 1957
Jôji is a boxer barred from the ring; Saeko is a singer whose voice is gone. Lost souls, they meet one night by a quay; she may be thinking of suicide. He invites her to his café, and perhaps he will rescue her from the cabaret where she's under contract to a vicious mob leader. When the boss insists on her return, Jôji is bitter. He also despairs over lost dreams. His brother has gone to Brazil to purchase a farm; Jôji planned to join him but now believes his brother abandoned him. When Jôji discovers a clue about his brother, he needs Saeko's help. Like a fighter in the ring, he pursues the truth relentlessly, without regard for his own safety. Will it cost his life?
IntimidationMarch 23, 1960
Koreyoshi Kurahara’s ingeniously plotted, pocket-size noir concerns the intertwined fates of a desperate bank manager, blackmailed for book-cooking, and his resentful but timid underling, passed over for a promotion. The marvelously moody Intimidation (Aru kyouhaku) is an elegantly stripped-down and carefully paced crime drama.
The Rusty KnifeJanuary 1, 1958
Udaka is a new, post-war city where corruption has already taken hold. A persistent district attorney wants to arrest and convict Katsumata, a laughing, self-confident thug. The D.A. gets an anonymous letter about the suicide five years' before of a city council member. Evidence about the case leads the D.A. to Tachibana, struggling to go straight after involvement with the mob and a prison sentence for killing the man responsible for the rape and suicide of his fiancée. One of Tachibana's friends is Keiko, the daughter of the dead councilman and the ward of another powerful official. How do these stories connect?
The Most Beautiful Night In The WorldMay 24, 2008
Betrayed and disgraced, big-city reporter Kazuya Mizuno is banished to a desk at Kaname's boring little town newspaper. But Kaname isn't as boring as it seems on the surface. Not with characters around like Shimeko, a girl genius with a childlike lack of propriety, and her ace fisherman/folk-singer dad. Or the overbearing and unpleasant local Shinto priest, a former Christian cultist. Or Endo, Kazuya's new colleague, a bitter drunk after his son's suicide. Or Kin, a former terrorist, now a hermit on his boat engaging in secret "research." Or perhaps most importantly Teruko, the hypnotically beautiful bar owner, the focus of all manner of innuendo and intrigue. Something mysterious, even mystical, is going on Kaname, and hapless Kazuya is about to be thrown into the middle of it.
Seijun Suzuki: kabuki & yakuzasJanuary 10, 2002
In the sixties, director and screenwriter Seijun Suzuki (1923-2017) was the great innovator of Japanese cinema. Extremely creative and eccentric, his narrative world is strongly influenced by Kabuki theater. His testimony crosses with that of his collaborator and close friend, artistic director and screenwriter Takeo Kimura (1918–2010). Between the two of them, they remember how they made their great masterpieces about the Yakuza underworld for the Nikkatsu film company.
Take Aim at the Police VanJanuary 27, 1960
A sharpshooter kills two prisoners in a police van at night. The guard on the van is suspended for six months; he's Tamon, an upright, modest man. He begins his own investigation into the murders. Who were the victims, who are their relatives and girlfriends, who else was on the van that night? As he doggedly investigates, others die, coincidences occur, and several leads take him to the Hamaju Agency, which may be supplying call girls. Its owner is in jail, his daughter, the enigmatic Yuko, keeps turning up where Tamon goes. Tamon believes he can awaken good in people, but has he met his match? Will he solve the murders or be the next victim? And who is Akiba?