NIKKATSU DIAMOND GUYS REVIEWED
Nikkatsu is the oldest film studio in Japan. Coming out of World War II, they were having trouble connecting to the Youth market. Instead of putting people in monster suits, they decided to craft dramatic tales of crime and action involving the emerging under 30 crowd. Maverick director Seijun Suzuki made his name directing these kinds of movies, as he showed that suspense and tension belonged to the East as much as the West. “Voice Without A Shadow” is by far the highlight of this set.
Mixing domestic duty with cultural convention, there is still room for old fashioned cinema to be turned on its ear. The Japanese use of Scope at such an early age produces an image that demands full attention. Suzuki, Nitani and Saito want viewers to experience the new Japan of the 1950s where truth is muddy and a dark alley could be your last destination. The heavy emphasis on cover-ups and mob influence was telling of the rise of the modern Yakuza. But, we’d still be another decade out before the Yakuza influence bled onto Japanese cinema.
“The Rambling Guitarist” is the film in the set that I found myself watching repeatedly. While a minstrel being taken in by a mafioso isn’t new, it’s the leisurely approach to crime that I found refreshing. It’s comedy without being funny. But, it’s never light. For an era, that I’ve only dabbled lightly in before now, I can’t wait to see what other gems can be dug out of the Nikkatsu vaults.
- Specially recorded video discussions
- Original trailers
- Trailer for upcoming Nikkatsu Diamond Guys: Volume 2
- Promo image gallery
A/V QUALITY STATS
- 2.35:1 1080p transfer
- LPCM Mono