EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?
|DRAGNET GIRL (HIJOSEN NO ONNA) (director/writer: Yasujiro Ozu; screenwriter: Ikeda Tadao; cinematographer: Hideo Shigehara; editors: Kazuo Ishikawa/Minoru Kuribayashi; cast: Kinuyo Tanaka (Tokiko), Joji Oka (Jyoji), Sumiko Mizukubo (Kazuko), Hideo Mitsui (Hiroshi), Yumeko Oushi (Misako), Yoshio Takayama (Senko), Koji Kaga (Misawa), Yasuo Nanjo (Okazki, the president's son), Chishu Ryu (policeman); Runtime: 100; MPAA Rating: NR; Panorama; 1933-silent-Japan-in Japanese with English subtitles)|
the only film Ozu made that had a gunshot."
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Acclaimed Japanese filmmaker Yasujiro Ozu ("A Hen in the
Wind"/"Walk Cheerfully"/"Early Summer") directs and cowrites
with Ikeda Tadao this shot in B/W
American-like silent gangster film noir. The film's star, Kinuyo Tanaka, later became Japan's first
woman director. Noted for his
family dramas, this was the only film Ozu made that had a gunshot.
Dragnet Girl has little to say
about crime that is meaningful and its story of a woman trying to
reform her thuggish man is hardly fresh, but it's stylish (tracking
shots and sweeping chiaroscuro) and looks much like Josef von
Sternberg's 1927 German expressionist film Underworld.
Tokiko (Kinuyo Tanaka)
a day job as a typist for a business firm, and the boss's nice son (Yasuo
flirts with her but she resists. At night Tokiko lives
like a vamp with ex-boxer and small-time gang leader boyfriend Joji (Joji
Oka), someone she dearly loves and supports financially. High
school student Hiroshi (Hideo Mitsui), who trains for boxing in the same gym
that Joji hangs out in, joins Joji's gang. As a result, his
hard-working record store clerk older sister, Misako (Yumeko
Oushi), objects and tells Joji to talk her
mixed-up brother out of joining the gang. The attractive Misako
becomes jealous of the attention Joji pays to the attractive
innocent girl, but decides against harming Misako because she takes a
liking to her.
The concluding scenes have Tokiko convincing Joji
to go straight. Joji agrees, but tells her they must commit one last
job and then move from Yokohama and start over. The duo pull guns and
rob her boss in the busy office during the work day. The noble Joji
commits the robbery so that Hiroshi
pay back the money he robbed from his sister's cash register,
thereby saving him from a life of crime.
While running from the
police, Tokiko begs Joji to surrender with her to
the police and after only a few years in jail can get a fresh start.
When Joji leaves her, Tokiko shoots him and he has a
superficial wound. He now agrees to her demand and the two embrace as
It's an appealing film that follows the American gangster conventions. It's worth seeing as proof that Ozu could have made top-notch gangster films if he so desired.
REVIEWED ON 9/16/2010 GRADE: B+
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
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