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.
, Wolves of the City
, Furyô banchô: Inoshika Ochô
, Wolves of the City: Ocho the She-Wolf
, Yukio Noda
, Junko Miyazono
, Tatsuo Umemiya
, poster art
, movie review
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: Black Leopard M (we don’t know the Japanese title for that one); 5 & 6: Kyôfu joshikôkô: bôkô rinchi kyôshitsu, aka Terrifying Girls’ High School: Lynch Law Classroom; 7: a rare and valuable round poster for Sukeban, aka Girl Boss Revenge; 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.
, Sukeban burûsu: Mesubachi no gyakushû
, Girl Boss Blues: Queen Bee’s Counterattack
, Sukeban: Taiman Shobu
, Girl Boss: Mano a Mano
, Black Leopard M
, Kyôfu joshikôkô: bôkô rinchi kyôshitsu
, Terrifying Girls’ High School: Lynch Law Classroom
, Girl Boss Revenge
, Furyo bancho: Norainu kidotai
, Wolves of the City: Alley Dog Commando
, Reiko Ike
, poster art
, pinky violence
Youth speed trouble cigarettes.
Two posters for Furyô banchô yarazu buttakuri, aka Wolves of the City: Rip-Off Game, starring Tatsuo Umemiya, 1971.
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
1919—Volstead Act Passed
The U.S. Congress passes the Volstead Act over President Woodrow Wilson's veto, paving the way for alcohol Prohibition to begin the following January. The Act, named for Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee Andrew Volstead, was supposed to create a better society but instead helped lead to the rise of violent organized crime gangs. The law wouldn't be repealed until 1933.
1922—Mussolini Comes Into Power
During the second day of the event known as the March on Rome, Fascist leader Benito Mussolini officially takes control of the Italian government when King Victor Emmanuel III cedes power. Supported by a coalition of military, business, and right-wing leaders, Mussolini remains in power until 1943, when defeat in World War II begins to look inevitable.
1994—U.S. Prison Population Reaches Milestone
The U.S. prison population tops 1 million for the first time in American history. By 2008 the U.S. Justice Department pegs the number of imprisoned at 2.3 million, and the overall U.S. correctional population, i.e. those in jail, prison, on probation or on parole, at 7.3 million, or 1 in every 31 adults.
1951—Churchill Becomes Prime Minster Again
The Conservative Party wins the British general election, making Winston Churchill prime minister for the second time. Churchill is nearly 76 at the time, making him the second oldest prime minister in history after William Gladstone. Churchill remains PM until 1955, when he steps down at 81 due to ill health.
1964—The Night Caller Is Executed
In Australia, Eric Edgar Cooke, who had earned the nickname Night Caller, is hanged after being convicted of murder. He had terrorized Perth for four years, committing 22 violent crimes, eight of which resulted in deaths. He becomes the last person to be executed in Western Australia.
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