6.4/10
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The Money Dance (1963)

Dokonjo monogatari - zeni no odori (original title)
| Drama
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Cast

Credited cast:
Shintarô Katsu ...
Hapyaku Machida
Chiemi Eri
Eiji Funakoshi
Jun Hamamura
Roy James
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Shirô Ôtsuji
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2.35 : 1
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Referenced in Taxi Driver (1976) See more »

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Not Ichikawa's Best
20 November 2001 | by (Vancouver BC Canada) – See all my reviews

What didn't work:

1. The plot was far too complex and it didn't hold up well throughout the film. 2. Fortune played to big a role in a couple of situations, such as when Hapyaku is about to drown and that truck driver shows up. For one, it took me the entire movie to figure out who the hell he was (he was the hit-and-run driver at the very start of the film) and why he and Hapy seemed to know each other. Geez, he didn't even talk at the start of the film, and he appeared so briefly, yet we were supposed to remember him? 3. The handheld camera work was making my head hurt, it was so erratic. And experiment that failed. I don't if they had steadycam's in 1963, but that would have been a better choice. 4. The film was too dark, especially the last 15 minutes on the waterfront, where it was so dark during some shots that I couldn't make heads or tails what was going on. 5. The female informant that just kept "showing up" didn't work, but that plays into the unnecessary complexity of the plot and how it just didn't hold up to any kind of scrutiny.

What did work: 1. The casting of Hapyaku. He had the right mixture of brawn, naivety and comic relief. I really liked his character, too bad the character was stuck in this movie.

This isn't Ichikawa's best work, probably not even close. It was his second Cinemascope production though, and he seemed to still be experimenting with the new medium. The script could have definitely used a reworking.


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