Yasujirô Shimazu

  • Yasujirô Shimazu – Watashi no niisan AKA My elder Brother (1934)

    1931-1940ClassicsJapanRomanceYasujirô Shimazu

    Kazuo Hasegawa has wild friends and hates being compared to his stepbrother, Reikichi Kawamura, who is steady, works hard at his taxicab business, and is amiable. That’s why he left home a year ago. Now he has heard his mother is ill, and wants to come home, but thinks she hates him. That’s nonsense, says Kawamura. Hasegawa agrees to reform. Just then two men come in and want to hire a cab. Everyone has gone home for the evening, so Hasegawa shows his willingness to reform by taking the fare. They drive to a distant house. They ask him to wait. While he does so, Kinuyo Tanaka pops out, begs him to help her escape. He does so. The two men are her step-brother, and the man everyone wants her to marry…. except her, of course.Read More »

  • Yasujirô Shimazu – Joriku dai-ippo AKA First Steps Ashore (1932)

    1931-1940DramaJapanRomanceYasujirô Shimazu

    Fascinating remake of Sternberg’s “Docks of New York.” The geometric and pictorial aspects, as in the case of many Japanese films, and especially those of this time period, fascinate as much as the story. The push/pull, attraction/repulsion dynamic of the romance between the lowly ship stoker and the “fallen woman” he rescues from drowning gives a charge to the claustrophobic confines of their scenes together. The fight scenes between the men fascinated me also: a chaotic melange of sprawling limbs, bodies leaping over one another, sharp jabs and uppercuts.Read More »

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