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Ana-ta-han (1953)

Anatahan (original title)
Approved | | Drama, War | 17 May 1954 (USA)
Josef von Sternberg directed, photographed, provides the voice-over narration and wrote the screenplay (from a based-on-actual event novel by Michiro Maruyana translated by Younghill Kang) ... See full summary »

Writers:

(novel), (novel) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview:
...
Keiko Kusakabe, the 'Queen Bee'
Tadashi Suganuma ...
Kusakabe, Husband of Keiko (as Suganuma)
Kisaburo Sawamura ...
Kuroda (as Sawamura)
Shôji Nakayama ...
Nishio (as Nakayama)
Jun Fujikawa ...
Yoshisato (as Fujikawa)
Hiroshi Kondô ...
Yanaginuma (as Kondo)
Shozo Miyashita ...
Sennami (as Miyashita)
Tsuruemon Bando ...
Doi (as Tsuruemon)
Kikuji Onoe ...
Kaneda (as Kikuji)
Rokuriro Kineya ...
Marui (as Rokuriro)
Daijiro Tamura ...
Kanzaki (as Tamura)
Chizuru Kitagawa ...
(as Kitagawa)
Takeshi Suzuki ...
Takahashi (as Suzuki)
Shiro Amikura ...
Amanuma (as Amikura)

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Storyline

Josef von Sternberg directed, photographed, provides the voice-over narration and wrote the screenplay (from a based-on-actual event novel by Michiro Maruyana translated by Younghill Kang) about twelve Japanese seaman who, in June 1944, are stranded on an abandoned-and-forgotten island called An-ta-han for seven years. The island's only inhabitants are the overseer of the abandoned plantation and an attractive young Japanese woman. Discipline is represented by a former warrant officer but ends when he suffers a loss-of-face catastrophe. Soon, discipline and rationality are replaced by a struggle for power and the woman. Power is represented by a pair of pistols found in the wreckage of an American airplane, so important that five men pay for their lives in a bid for supremacy. Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | War

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

17 May 1954 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Ana-ta-han  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$373 (USA) (31 March 2017)

Gross:

$49,899 (USA) (31 March 2017)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (Buenos Aires Festival Internacional de Cine Independiente)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)|

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Quotes

Narrator: A good part of our lives is spent in trying to gain the esteem of others, to gain self-esteem however, we usually waste little time.
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Connections

Featured in Hollywood Mavericks (1990) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Feels like I'm drowning...
11 August 2008 | by (Denver, CO) – See all my reviews

Oh great. I finally obtain this incredibly rare film, a blank tape with a sticker on it, in a clear case, from a tiny town in northeast Wiscons, and I pop in the tape, all ready to enjoy the film...if the narrator would just SHUT the HELL UP! The omniscient voice-over (in English, provided by von Sternberg himself) literally talks throughout the entire film. He vocally provides setting, action, subtext, inner monologue and even dialogue! There are no subtitles in the film, and the film isn't dubbed into English. von Sternberg simply reads the lines for both people, giving the direct action the short shrift as he emotionally distanced it from us with his flat delivery. It felt like I was being treated like a six-year-old, watching Reading Rainbow, with Levar Burton slowly enunciating every line in an aloof, patronizing tone, as if he thinks I'm an idiot, like I'm not smart enough to actually comprehend the goings on, which are fairly straightforward.

But even more frustratingly, he abruptly stops talking, almost as if to say, "FINE, YOU TRY IT WITHOUT ME!" and suddenly I'm left adrift; since all the characters have the same voice, I found it difficult to differentiate between them, and suddenly their voices are gone, and I have no idea what was going on, as I felt von Sternberg derisively chuckling and nodding behind me.

It's an intriguing tale, the story of five Japanese soldiers, thanks to the strong values and refusal of surrender instilled in them since childhood, continue to fight and guard an outpost long after the fighting has ceased. Even if he had one glaring post-production failure, von Sternberg still knows how to direct, and there are a few striking visual sequences, several well-made, interesting setpieces, with the give-and-take between the two, three and four von-Sterberg-sans, including a few exciting conflicts that result in violence. But the narrator kept talking, then hung me out to dry, and I was left flailing unpleasantly.

That was the feeling I got from Anatahan, that I was being talked down to, that he was reading a children's book and showing me the pictures, then got mad at me and stormed out, with any possibility of me loving the film went right along with it. To put it one way, I was overly smothered and babied in the kiddie pool, then abruptly shoved into the deep end without my floaties. I think I would have preferred the film on mute, and I probably still could have figured out what was going on from the outset, completely without his f-cking patronage, thank you very much.

{Grade: 6.5/10 (high C+) / #16 (of 22) of 1953}


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