|Femmes Fatales||Jun 28 2023|
We scanned this photo of Japanese actress Jun Ogawa eight years back, but sort of lost her in the shuffle until today. We're glad we found the shot, though, because it's pretty nice. Ogawa made eighteen movies between 1971 and 1977, most of them for Roppô Eiga, which is a studio whose output we haven't explored yet. If any of Ogawa's work is available we'll probably do that. We're thinking Makura geisha no kokuhaku: Shinshitsu no technique might be a good choice. The English title of that is Confessions of a Pillow Geisha: Bedroom Techniques. Alternatively there's Dokufu oden kubikiri asa, which was called Samurai Executioner in the West. That sounds good too. We'll go looking. The above image is from a 1974 issue of Heibon Punch.
|Vintage Pulp||Jan 22 2016|
Dokufu oden kubikiri asa is known in English by many titles—officially it's aka Poisonous Oden and Decapitator Asa or Samurai Executioner. But in our efforts to locate it we discovered it's known online also as Decapitation of an Evil Woman and Vamp and Samurai. Do we even need to tell you about this one, considering how much info is given away by the titles?
A country girl played by Terumi Azuma goads a country boy into theivery and they and two partners quickly become notorious bandits hunted by the authorities. The story is derived from the real-life Oden Takahashi, who in 1879 became the last woman executed by decapitation in Japan. Despite this inspiration, much of the movie is played for laughs, with quite a bit of slapsticking, bungling, and yelling. Of course, it has to take a serious turn eventually, and indeed all four gang members soon become seasoned killers—just in time to start being whittled down by those annoyingly persistent authorities.
We were surprised by the comedic tone saturating much of the film, but since Japanese audiences already knew the story of Oden Takahashi, maybe some foolishness was needed to keep them interested. We could have done without it, but the movie is still pretty good, and at sixty-one minutes you don't lose too much life to it. The poster above is exceedingly rare, never before seen online we're pretty sure. The one below is more common, but still very nice. Dokufu oden kubikiri asa premiered in Japan today in 1977.