A movie log formerly known as Bookishness / By Charles Matthews

"Dazzled by so many and such marvelous inventions, the people of Macondo ... became indignant over the living images that the prosperous merchant Bruno Crespi projected in the theater with the lion-head ticket windows, for a character who had died and was buried in one film and for whose misfortune tears had been shed would reappear alive and transformed into an Arab in the next one. The audience, who had paid two cents apiece to share the difficulties of the actors, would not tolerate that outlandish fraud and they broke up the seats. The mayor, at the urging of Bruno Crespi, explained in a proclamation that the cinema was a machine of illusions that did not merit the emotional outbursts of the audience. With that discouraging explanation many ... decided not to return to the movies, considering that they already had too many troubles of their own to weep over the acted-out misfortunes of imaginary beings."
--Gabriel García Márquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude

Monday, July 2, 2018

Danger Stalks Near (Keisuke Kinoshita, 1957)

Hideko Takamine in Danger Stalks Near
Yuriko Sato: Hideko Takamine
Kaneshige Sato: Keiji Sada
Tetsu Sato: Akiko Tamura
Bunichi Akama: Koji Nanbara
Sakura: Toshiko Kobayashi
Miyoko: Hiroko Ito
Ayame: Masako Arisawa
Shintaro: Ryo Ono
Kazuo: Kotohisa Saotome
Mr. Suzuki: Yoshihide Sato
Mr. Kitamura: Koji Satomi
Tatami repairman: Saburo Sato
First thief: Akira Oze
Second thief: Shoji Sayama
Kohei: Shinji Tanaka

Director: Keisuke Kinoshita
Screenplay: Keisuke Kinoshita
Cinematography: Hiroshi Kusuda
Art direction: Chiyoo Umeda
Film editing: Yoshi Sugihara
Music: Chuji Kinoshita

A rather pleasant surprise. Nothing about the English title suggests that you're going to get the comedy of errors that Danger Stalks Near turns out to be, or that its star, Hideko Takamine, usually seen in serious, often glamorous roles, will play a mousy, bespectacled housewife under the domination of her tyrannical mother-in-law. The film starts out with two young thugs bullying Kohei, a man from the country who needs money to return home, into robbing a suburban house. But as they case the joint from a nearby hillside, things constantly happen to keep them from their goal. The house is the property of Tetsu Sato, a war widow, who lets her son, Kaneshige, and his wife, Yuriko, and their son, Kazuo, live there. She also rents a room to Miyoko, a flighty young woman who starts the day's madness off by burning a hole in the tatami mat in her room. Tetsu immediately evicts her. Things snowball from there, with the tatami repairman coming and going, movers arriving, Yuriko's sisters showing up with various problems of their own, Yuriko returning with her boyfriend to demand the remaining day she had paid for in rent, an old friend of Kaneshige's arriving and revealing his own larcenous aims, and various other unexpected incidents. The three would-be thieves watch in dismay as their opportunity to bust in and steal what they -- and others -- believe to be a considerable amount of money belonging to Tetsu disappears. Kinoshita piles on the complications, and in the process unveils some of the hidden motives and simmering resentments of the members of the household. For once, Kinoshita lets his cynical side dominate, diluting some of the syrup that often makes his films a little sticky.

No comments: