Serious trouble just rolled into town.
Furyô banchô: Ikkaku senkin, for which you see a killer poster above, was known in English as Wolves of the City: Fast Money, or sometimes Wolves of the City: Instant Fortune. It starred Tatsuo Umemiya, Reiko Oshida, and Bunta Sugawara, and we hear it's good, but we weren't able to find it to watch. We may circle back to it, though, because we located more promo art Toei Company made for it—for example the cool photos of Umemiya and Oshida you see below.
You notice the swastika tattoo on Oshida's back? We've mentioned before that the symbol's usage predates its appropriation by Nazi Germany, and has different meanings in Japan. However, in this case we suspect those meanings—good luck, eternity, etc.—have been set aside and the filmmakers meant to use the symbol's association with Nazis to suggest rebellion or lawlessness. If asked, they may have claimed they weren't, but they'd have been messing with people's heads in the same way as the Prussian cross in this post was meant to. But we won't know until we watch the film. We'll keep the rest of our promo material in reserve in case our search is successful. Furyô banchô Ikkaku senkin premiered in Japan today in 1970.
I keep this gun under my pillow in case of home invasion by my namesakes.
There are several Reikos in the realm of pinku but we've talked about only two—Pulp Intl. favorite Reiko Ike, who we featured a few days ago, and action star Reiko Oshida. Time for some new blood. Above you see a beautiful image of Reiko Ohara, who was also a big star in Japanese filmdom, appearing in dozens of action and comedy flicks beginning in 1965, including Furyo bancho te haccho kuchi haccho, aka Wolves of the City: Blue Soldiers, and Yagyû ichizoku no inbô aka Shogun's Samurai. She has an unusually large gun here, or perhaps is an unusually small person. We don't know which. But we know the photo originally appeared in a large art book called 大原麗子メモリーずっと好きでいて, which translates as something like, “Reiko Ohara Memory I've Always Liked.” The book was published in 2010, but Ohara was born in 1946, so we'd say the image was originally shot way back around 1970. She died in 2009, so it's possible the book was published as a tribute, but we aren't sure about that. We have other images of her and she's posing with a massive gun in many of those too. Like below, for example. We figure she thought she needed it around at all times for protection from the other Reikos.
The gangs that couldn’t shoot straight.
Furyô banchô: Inoshika Ochô, aka Wolves of the City, aka Wolves of the City: Ocho the She-Wolf was a significant hole in our Japanese actioner viewing résumé, but we solved that by watching the film a few days ago. In short, you get an amoral motorcycle gang in Nazi regalia pitted against evil Yakuza, with the tide eventually turning when the legendary hellion Ocho the She-Wolf teams up with the gang. The movie looks great. Yukio Noda’s direction—for the most part—is a marvel. He frames shots with six, seven, sometimes even a dozen interacting characters spread across the screen, yet it all seems effortless. Modern directors don’t seem remotely interested in using shots like these anymore, which is a shame, but it may also be a function of today’s screenwriters choosing to limit the number of characters who interact simultaneously. In any case, this is one thing we loved about the movie and we’ve shared some images of this technique below.
But Wolves of the City is a mixed bag. It relies upon numerous violent set pieces, but where the dialogue sequences feel so carefully thought out, the action is pure Keystone Kops. Because Noda continues framing large numbers of actors in single shots, his performers seem more intent uponhitting their stage marks than making these confrontations look realistic. They reach their required positions in the scenes, but these hardened gangsters handle pistols and machine guns as if they were rubber snakes, dealing a major blow to what should be the visceral thrill of such moments. By packing the screen during the gunfights Noda forces the audience to accept that nobody can successfully shoot anyone from five feet away. It feels very bang-bang-you’re-dead amateurish, complete with wounded gangsters clutching their chests, spinning around, and falling to the floor.
In the end the plot ushers us through various deals, deceptions, and shootouts, and you finally get the inevitable throwdown between the bikers and the Yakuza. This is the most unlikely sequence of all, with bikers motoring around none too swiftly inside a confined warehouse while still miraculously being missed by a hailstorm of screaming lead. But by now we know what we’re going to get and we just have to go with it. At one point Ocho puts out a gangster’s eyes and archly informs him (as if he can hear through the head-splitting pain), “You’re the seventeenth victim of Ocho of Inoshika’s eye attack!” This movie does attack the eyes rather beautifully, and if you look past the Vaudeville antics of the action scenes you may enjoy it. The panel length poster at top is rare, and as far as we know it’s the only one of its kind to be seen online. Furyô banchô: Inoshika Ochô premiered in Japan today in 1969.
Leader of the headbands.
Poster for Makoto Naitô’s actioner Furyo bancho totsugeki! Ichiban, aka Wolves of the City: First To Fight. It premiered in Japan today in 1971. See another poster in the Furyo Bancho series here.
Whether she has to use bullets, a blade or her bare hands, she’s gonna make you pay.
Above are nine vintage Japanese pinku posters from our large collection, for films featuring that scourge of evil men everywhere—Reiko Ike. These are circa 1971 to 1974, and they are, top to bottom, 1: Sukeban burûsu: Mesubachi no gyakushû, aka Girl Boss Blues: Queen Bee’s Counterattack; 2 & 3: Sukeban: Taiman shobu, aka, Girl Boss: Mano a Mano; 4: Kuroi mehyô M, aka Black Panther Bitch M; 5 & 6: Kyofu joshikôkô: Furyo monzetsu guruupu, aka Terrifying Girls' High School: Delinquent Convulsion Group; 7: a rare and valuable round poster for Sukeban, aka Girl Boss Revenge; Sukeban; 8: Furyo bancho: Norainu kidotai, aka Wolves of the City: Alley Dog Commando.
A quick word about the last one: that is Reiko Ike on the poster, with a machine gun at lower right. We’ve seen this debated on a couple of websites, but there’s no debate—it’s her, beauty mark next to her mouth and all. Besides, her name is on the poster, left column, fifth line. We’ll have more Reiko Ike posters down the line (no, we haven’t run out yet), and we’ll upload promos from other pinku stars as well. To see our entire Reiko Ike collection, click here. Also, we still have some very provocative posters of pinku stars Miki Sugimoto, Naomi Tani, Meg Flower and others that have never appeared online before, as far as we know. We promise we will get those up soon-ish.
Youth speed trouble cigarettes.
Above, a poster for Furyô banchô yarazu buttakuri, aka Wolves of the City: Rip-Off Game, starring Tatsuo Umemiya, 1971.
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
1974—Police Raid SLA Headquarters
In the U.S., Los Angeles police raid the headquarters of the revolutionary group the Symbionese Liberation Army, resulting in the deaths of six members. The SLA had gained international notoriety by kidnapping nineteen-year old media heiress Patty Hearst
from her Berkeley, California apartment, an act which precipitated her participation in an armed bank robbery.
1978—Charlie Chaplin's Missing Body Is Found
Eleven weeks after it was disinterred and stolen from a grave in Corsier near Lausanne, Switzerland, Charlie Chaplin's corpse is found by police. Two men—Roman Wardas, a 24-year-old Pole, and Gantscho Ganev, a 38-year-old Bulgarian—are convicted in December of stealing the coffin and trying to extort £400,000 from the Chaplin family.
1918—U.S. Congress Passes the Sedition Act
In the U.S., Congress passes a set of amendments to the Espionage Act called the Sedition Act, which makes "disloyal, profane, scurrilous, or abusive language" about the United States government, its flag, or its armed forces, as well as language that causes foreigners to view the American government or its institutions with contempt, an imprisonable offense. The Act specifically applies only during times of war, but later is pushed by politicians as a possible peacetime law, specifically to prevent political uprisings in African-American communities. But the Act is never extended and is repealed entirely in 1920.
1905—Las Vegas Is Founded
Las Vegas, Nevada is founded when 110 acres of barren desert land in what had once been part of Mexico are auctioned off to various buyers. The area sold is located in what later would become the downtown section of the city. From these humble beginnings Vegas becomes the most populous city in Nevada, an internationally renowned resort for gambling, shopping, fine dining and sporting events, as well as a symbol of American excess. Today Las Vegas remains one of the fastest growing municipalities in the United States.
1928—Mickey Mouse Premieres
The animated character Mickey Mouse, along with the female mouse Minnie, premiere in the cartoon Plane Crazy, a short co-directed by Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks. This first cartoon was poorly received, however Mickey would eventually go on to become a smash success, as well as the most recognized symbol of the Disney empire.
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