This is the next entry in a Theatre… a Movie… and a Time, a series that was begun here. Along with my proclivity to snag just about anything, it seems my primary penchant over time is sitting alone in a darkened theatre watching a film hardly anyone else went to see, but enjoying the movie still. This one meets that criteria. Unfortunately, this crime film wasn’t helped by its timing, and especially its marketing, if the picture’s tagline was any indicator:
Separated by blood and centuries — United by a woman — Now, hurled together against The Yakuza… brotherhood of the East.
March 22, 1975: By the mid-70s, more than a few things were becoming clear about this decade. Economically and somewhat spiritually, it sucked to be in this time. Yet on the plus side, cinema was taking off into distinct tangents that were directly influenced by this period. I, on the other hand was wondering through college courses (“…move along… nothing to see here”). But, at least I had a job and an old car that worked. It got me from place to place, and the pull of movies with intriguing stories continued to draw me.
In this case, mainly to the glamorous, and the more than a little seedy era of, boulevard of Hollywood. The Hollywood Pacific Theatre, the venue that spellbound me to 2001: A Space Odyssey still had a wonderful allure. And with such seminal and significant fare like Chinatown arriving on scene from the previous year, the modern neo noir crime films of this time were proving to be worthy descendants of the 40s/50s film noirs. Yet, like the forgotten gem that was Hickey & Boggs, this film came and went far too quickly.
Given my growing admiration for Japanese cinema during this time (especially after one particular film experience), I had to see The Yakuza, even if its director, the co-lead, and supporting cast were American. Of course, like most moviegoers at the time, no one I was dating wanted to see this with me. I learned early not to let this hold me back. And the combination of those elements made the experience all the worth while.