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DVD: Kanto Wanderer / Kanto mushuku (1963)
Review Rating:   Standard  
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KAN 030
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1 (NTSC)

January 20, 2004



Genre: Crime  
Yakuza crime boss bodyguard Katsuta finds himself in the center of a violent power play, where he is torn between his desire for a woman from his past and fulfilling the debt of honor to his boss.  



Directed by:

Seijun Suzuki
Screenplay by: Yasutaro Yagi
Music by:  
Produced by: n/a

Akira Kobayashi,  Chieko Matsubara,  Daizaburo Hirata,  Hiroko Ito,  Sanae Nakahara,  Yunosuke Ito,  Toru Abe,  Kinzo Shin,  Taiji Tonoyama

Film Length: 96 mins
Process/Ratio: 2.35 :1
Anamorphic DVD: Yes
Languages:   Japanese (Mono)
Subtitles:   English
Special Features :  

New digital anamorphic transfer / 4 page colour booklet with Liner notes by Tom Mes, Suzuki filmography / Cast & crew Bio / Theatrical trailer for "Kanto Wanderer" (2.35:1 Anamorphic)

Comments :

‘Kanto Wanderer' is about the ‘honourable' Yakuza about as much as the ‘Godfather' films are about the ‘good' mafia. On the surface, the film is a Yakuza drama, but very few crimes are actually committed. That's not a bad thing, since nothing is predictable in this crime saga.

There's sort of a kidnapping, and a quasi-love story between Yakuza thug Katsutu and a mystery woman, along with some gambling-related skullduggery. But all of it melts into an sinister and unreal tone-poem as the film goes on. A good deal of the action is set in a gambling den/hotel in the early 60s, but it might as well be set on a Samurai influenced Mars. Watch the band of colour that appears when Katsutu makes a blood oath, or the way that walls give into the red setting sun after a killing.

The disc is light on extras - there's a trailer and a few liner notes by Tom Mes of Midnighteye.com, but the transfer is stunning, sharp and filled with dark muted colours. This isn't campy Suzuki; it's a genuine art film in the best sense of the term. For a study in crime and gambling, there's an unexpected streak of chivalry in ‘Kanto Wanderer' – it understands the importance of trying to find an honest game.

HVE's Seijun Suzuki collection includes 'Kanto Wanderer,' 'Tattooed Life,' and 'Underworld Beauty.'


© 2004 Michael John Derbecker

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