Black Test Car + The Black Report

Discuss DVDs and Blu-rays released from Arrow and the films on them.
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therewillbeblus
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Re: Black Test Car + The Black Report

#26 Post by therewillbeblus » Tue May 25, 2021 3:48 pm

swo17 wrote:
Tue May 25, 2021 3:13 pm
I only know him from this and the Fantoma DVDs--Red Angel and Blind Beast are essential viewing though a bit more...extreme than what you've seen so far TWBB
Those two are actually at the top of my list once I see Giants and Toys. I've added the ones mentioned in this thread to my watchlist, but was curious of Michael had others in mind

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knives
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Re: Black Test Car + The Black Report

#27 Post by knives » Tue May 25, 2021 4:34 pm

I’ll second Swo’s suggestions and throw in Manji, Afraid to Die (which has a lead performance from writer Mishima), and his Hanzo entry (really the whole series is great).

Kisses, the only other one I’ve seen, is an okay sun film typical of the era.
Last edited by knives on Tue May 25, 2021 4:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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therewillbeblus
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Re: Black Test Car + The Black Report

#28 Post by therewillbeblus » Tue May 25, 2021 4:51 pm

Cool thanks, Afraid to Die was the only one from that batch on my list

Jack Phillips
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Re: Black Test Car + The Black Report

#29 Post by Jack Phillips » Tue May 25, 2021 6:42 pm

Black Super-Express (1964) is essential if you want to complete the "Black" trilogy (and might be the best of the three). Warm Current (1957) does for a hospital what Giants and Toys does for candy companies. Speaking of G&T, those who like the dynamic between Hiroshi Kawaguchi and Hitomi Nozoe in that film may enjoy seeing them teamed again in Kuchizuke (1957).

Recently I saw Hanaoka Seishu no tsuma (1967) which is very unlike other films by Masumura: in adapting a famous novel, he put by his usual approach to faithfully serve (the very worthy) source material. And the film is a masterpiece.

I would very much like to own blu-ray discs of these titles. In the meantime, there is a website where one can stream them free with English subs . . . I can say no more.

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Michael Kerpan
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Re: Black Test Car + The Black Report

#30 Post by Michael Kerpan » Tue May 25, 2021 6:57 pm

Tattoo (Irezumi) got some sort of subbed DVD release a good while back. I read Manji for a book club earlier this year -- and wanted to see the long-ago DVD (but it is one of those very over-priced out-of-print things). So I couldn't see ayako Wakao and Kyoko Kishida illuminate this story.

I've heard good things about A Wife Confesses. And there are a number of interesting-sounding films starring Ayako Wakao paired with/pitted against other great actresses of the era -- for example, The Wife of Seishu Hanaoka (1967), Disorder (1961) and Thousand Cranes (1964).

All in all, most of Masumura's work remains terra incognita to all but academic specialists who can watch things unsubbed (including stuff never available on DVD at all).

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Re: Black Test Car + The Black Report

#31 Post by Glowingwabbit » Tue May 25, 2021 10:22 pm

I believe A Wife Confesses is Rosenbaum's favorite Masumura (it's definitely among his best and I'm in need of a rewatch). Obviously Rosenbaum has been one of the few Western voices to champion Masumura's work so I highly recommend reading his various articles (especially the dialogue with Shigehiko Hasumi in Movie Mutations). This was my introduction to Masumura.

Giants and Toys is probably my favorite (I'll echo others that Gonzalez-Lopez's commentary is excellent) but a lot his films have recently had custom English subs created on back channels so I'm hoping to work through more of his filmography over the summer.

Jack Phillips
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Re: Black Test Car + The Black Report

#32 Post by Jack Phillips » Wed May 26, 2021 9:24 am

Michael Kerpan wrote:
Tue May 25, 2021 6:57 pm
I've heard good things about A Wife Confesses. And there are a number of interesting-sounding films starring Ayako Wakao paired with/pitted against other great actresses of the era -- for example, The Wife of Seishu Hanaoka (1967), Disorder (1961) and Thousand Cranes (1964).
Wow, I hadn't realized Masumura directed an adaptation of Thousand Cranes. I've seen the 1953 version (MoMA did a Miyagawa retrospective a few years ago) and that adaptation was amazing, one of the best Japanese films I've ever seen (it helps to have a great novel as a foundation). I take it Masumura's film is in color (and it appears the release date was actually 1969); I'd very much like to see it.

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Re: Black Test Car + The Black Report

#33 Post by Michael Kerpan » Wed May 26, 2021 9:45 am

Jack Phillips -- I have never even managed to see the 1953 version of Thousand Cranes, alas. Kawabata is my favorite Japanese novelist by far. Tanizaki's stories almost always seems to have a sort of creepy edge that grates a bit (and that carries through into film adaptations).

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Re: Black Test Car + The Black Report

#34 Post by Michael Kerpan » Wed May 26, 2021 10:33 pm

To make up for being underwhelmed by Black Test Car, I can report I was very much impressed by Black Report -- which I felt was considerably better in terms of story, acting and cinematography. Perhaps it is because the subject matter was more relevant to me, but I don't think that was the decisive factor. ;-)

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Re: Black Test Car + The Black Report

#35 Post by colinr0380 » Thu May 27, 2021 2:50 pm

I will be very interested to see what the reaction to Red Angel and particularly the astonishing Blind Beast will be!

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Re: Black Test Car + The Black Report

#36 Post by Calvin » Thu May 27, 2021 4:30 pm

Lullaby of the Earth is a Masumura that intrigues me. Has anyone here seen it?

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Godot
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Re: Black Test Car + The Black Report

#37 Post by Godot » Fri Jun 04, 2021 8:54 pm

Re: A Wife Confesses, has anyone seen the version offered by the vendio vendor Stuff You Wanted ("the classic samurai movie store")? I am tempted to try, it's listed as "remastered" and with optional English subtitles, $15 with shipping to US. But I've never bought from them and hesitant about quality.
Thanks for any opinion.

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J Wilson
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Re: Black Test Car + The Black Report

#38 Post by J Wilson » Sat Jun 05, 2021 2:00 pm

Godot wrote:
Fri Jun 04, 2021 8:54 pm
Re: A Wife Confesses, has anyone seen the version offered by the vendio vendor Stuff You Wanted ("the classic samurai movie store")? I am tempted to try, it's listed as "remastered" and with optional English subtitles, $15 with shipping to US. But I've never bought from them and hesitant about quality.
Thanks for any opinion.
I've ordered from a couple of these type of "samurai DVD" places before (though not this specific one) and the quality is usually dependent on how good the DVD rip they're using is. Of course, you can't tell that from their listings, so it's basically down to how willing you are to take a chance. The product is usually fairly cheapo, a xeroxed cover in a thinline DVD case kind of thing, if it's anything like what I've bought in the past. There's a DVD rip of the film on archive.org, so it probably looks at least that good. Everything I've bought has at least been watchable.

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Re: Black Test Car + The Black Report

#39 Post by Jack Phillips » Sat Jun 05, 2021 4:57 pm

Calvin wrote:
Thu May 27, 2021 4:30 pm
Lullaby of the Earth is a Masumura that intrigues me. Has anyone here seen it?
Trite story; mid-70s T.V. production values.

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therewillbeblus
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Re: Black Test Car + The Black Report

#40 Post by therewillbeblus » Sun Jun 06, 2021 5:22 pm

Michael Kerpan wrote:
Tue May 25, 2021 10:23 am
I finally watched Black Test Car. I found it interesting in terms of content, but not nearly so engaging as Giants and Toys. The acting seemed much "flatter" overall. It wasn't so much that the characters weren't "likeable" as that they weren't particularly well developed. And the messaging (which I found no content-based objection to) seemed rather "on the nose". Compared to Imamura's (year-older) Pigs and Battleships, this had far less emotional and aesthetic impact on me.
Michael, if you have not yet seen Kuro no chôtokkyu (aka at least three English translations of The Black Express, Superexpress, The Black Super Express), the third film in the "Black" trilogy, I highly recommend seeking it out. The narrative emulates a noir with well-drawn characters and plotting, fleshing out the problems you had with the admittedly intentional identity-dissolve of Black Test Car. It's on par with that film and a welcome return to form after the lackluster The Black Report, with seedy dealings, intricate interpersonal flourishes, and an earned ruthless explosion after a deliberate accumulation of stress. I was reminded a lot of Kiss Me Deadly for some reason, probably in the cruel, oily milieu including the lead's temperament. Hopefully Arrow gets its hands on this one.

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Re: Black Test Car + The Black Report

#41 Post by Michael Kerpan » Sun Jun 06, 2021 6:04 pm

I would love to see this other "black" film. As to Black Report -- I'm the odd man out, I guess -- because I actually really liked it. ;-)

Jack Phillips
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Re: Black Test Car + The Black Report

#42 Post by Jack Phillips » Mon Jun 07, 2021 12:02 pm

Michael Kerpan wrote:
Sun Jun 06, 2021 6:04 pm
I would love to see this other "black" film. As to Black Report -- I'm the odd man out, I guess -- because I actually really liked it. ;-)
I'm with you on this. I prefer "Report" to "Test Car."

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Michael Kerpan
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Re: Black Test Car + The Black Report

#43 Post by Michael Kerpan » Mon Jun 07, 2021 12:22 pm

JP -- Glad I am not ALL alone on this!

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esl
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Re: Black Test Car + The Black Report

#44 Post by esl » Tue Jun 08, 2021 3:29 pm

HugoDeVries wrote:
Sat Apr 10, 2021 4:25 am
The booklet mentions 11 flims in Daiei’s ‘Black’ series, can anyone tell me the complete list or point me to an online resource?

Any plans from Arrow to release more…or just more 50’s/60’s Japanese thrillers generally.
HugoDeVries,
Here is the list (I have omitted the 3 by Masumara) but it is in Japanese http://www.jmdb.ne.jp/1963/cm000890.htm

Black Dividend (Yoru no haitô, 1963)
Black Parking Lot aka Lips of Ruin (Kuro no chusajo, 1963)
Black Money (Kuro no satsutaba, 1963)
Black Death Ball (Kuro no shikyu, 1963)
Black Riders, aka Black Speeding (Kuro no bakuso, 1964)
Black Challenger (Kuro no chôsensha, 1964)
Black Weapon (Kuro no kyoki, 1964)
Black Trump Card (Kuro no kirifuda, 1964)

All the above films are also listed in imdb and star Jirô Tamiya except for Black Money and Black Death Ball. If these others are as good as the Masumara ones it sounds like that would be a fun set of films would love to see them released by Arrow.
Another film in that genre that I really like is Koreyoshi Kurahara’s Third Dead Angle (Dai san no shikaku, 1959) saw it at the 2008 Tokyo Filmex retrospective of 12 of Kurahara’s flims.
Last edited by esl on Tue Jun 08, 2021 6:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Michael Kerpan
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Re: Black Test Car + The Black Report

#45 Post by Michael Kerpan » Tue Jun 08, 2021 5:44 pm

I wonder how these other films would compare to Masumura's? He was one of those pretty special directors that somehow got relatively minimal western attention. I would guess he might have been likely to make something special out of what might otherwise be just entertaining potboilers.

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esl
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Re: Black Test Car + The Black Report

#46 Post by esl » Tue Jun 08, 2021 6:37 pm

Michael Kerpan wrote:
Tue Jun 08, 2021 5:44 pm
I wonder how these other films would compare to Masumura's? He was one of those pretty special directors that somehow got relatively minimal western attention. I would guess he might have been likely to make something special out of what might otherwise be just entertaining potboilers.
Michael,
I did a quick search of amazon japan and yes asia and found four of the non-Masumura films from the 'Black" series on DVD R2(no subtitles). Would be interested in seeing some of these others but not sure I want to spend the money.

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Re: Black Test Car + The Black Report

#47 Post by longstone » Wed Jun 09, 2021 3:19 am

I also actually really enjoyed The Black Report, maybe my expectations were low due to other opinions, it was really interesting to think about it having recently rewatched The Third Murder

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Michael Kerpan
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Re: Black Test Car + The Black Report

#48 Post by Michael Kerpan » Wed Jun 09, 2021 10:31 am

longstone -- I also had Third Murder in the back of my mind as I watched Black Report.

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Re: Black Test Car + The Black Report

#49 Post by andyli » Sat Jun 12, 2021 1:59 am

Jack Phillips wrote:
Calvin wrote:
Thu May 27, 2021 4:30 pm
Lullaby of the Earth is a Masumura that intrigues me. Has anyone here seen it?
Trite story; mid-70s T.V. production values.
I find its theme an intriguing mix of Buddhism and prostitution. Mieko Harada is awesome, turning out an unforgettable (and career-defining?) performance. The film feels like sort of a Mizoguchi refracted through the lens of Masumura. No coincidence Kinuyo Tanaka had a cameo appearance.

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