7.1/10
408
7 user 16 critic

Underworld Beauty (1958)

Ankokugai no bijo (original title)
Released from prison, a gangster (Michitaro Mizushima) retrieves diamonds sought by fellow yakuza.

Director:

Seijun Suzuki

Writer:

Susumu Saji (screenplay)
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Cast

Credited cast:
Michitarô Mizushima Michitarô Mizushima ... Miyamoto
Mari Shiraki Mari Shiraki ... Akiko Mihara
Shinsuke Ashida Shinsuke Ashida ... Ôyane
Tôru Abe Tôru Abe ... Mihara
Hideaki Nitani Hideaki Nitani ... Detective Watanabe
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Setsuko Amamiya Setsuko Amamiya ... Keiko
Tomio Aoki Tomio Aoki
Shôki Fukae Shôki Fukae ... Fujita
Ayako Fukuda Ayako Fukuda ... School Girl A
Akinori Hanamura Akinori Hanamura ... Detective (as Kazuo Mihara)
Kyôko Horikawa Kyôko Horikawa ... School Girl B
Ryûsei Itô Ryûsei Itô
Bumon Kahara Bumon Kahara ... Hatano
Hiroshi Katô Hiroshi Katô
Ichiro Kijima Ichiro Kijima ... (as Ichirô Kijima)
Edit

Storyline

Released from prison, a gangster (Michitaro Mizushima) retrieves diamonds sought by fellow yakuza.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Action | Crime

Edit

Details

Country:

Japan

Language:

Japanese

Release Date:

25 March 1958 (Japan) See more »

Also Known As:

Underworld Beauty See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Nikkatsu See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

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User Reviews

 
A dangerously beautiful Japanese film noir masterpiece from Seijun Suzuki.
14 July 2005 | by Ham_and_EggerSee all my reviews

This is simply one of those crime films that transcends its pulp nature and becomes art. It comes from Nikkatsu Studios and the writing, sets, etc. are as good as anything coming out of Hollywood at the time.

'Ankokugai no bijo' is very much an American film in style, simply set in Japan. It's something like a Japanese master painting an incredible picture from an American photograph. The story is taut and sinuous, it's unclear to me who wrote it, but it reeks of Cornell Woolrich as is moves inexorably toward it's conclusion but with enough twists along the way that it doesn't feel preprogrammed.

The director, Seijun Suzuki, is an auteur of the first magnitude, which is already fully visible in this his seventh film. Suzuki gives us ingenious images throughout and uses the wide angle ("Nikkatsu Scope") frame like an artist. He's abetted by Wataro Nakao's beautiful black and white cinematography. Particularly well photographed are a scene in a sewer and the climactic shootout in a darkened building splashed with angular puddles of light.

The plot centers around some diamonds stolen by protagonist Miyamoto (Michitaro Mizushima, I assume) and left hidden while he spent three years in prison. Miyamoto is a morally ambiguous but honorable and seemingly independent yakuza thief. He swaggers through Tokyo in a black coat and hat, facial expression varying between a scowl and a sneer, it's clear that he's not unfamiliar with Humphrey Bogart. Akkiko (presumably Mari Shiraki) is the kittenish younger sister of Miyamoto's partner. She's on the verge of "going down the wrong path" and when her brother dies, not surprisingly as a result of Miyamoto and his diamonds, it's up to the black-hat hero to save her, and maybe save himself in the bargain (wink).


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