Arlecchino Cinema > 10:45


Sydney Pollack


Friday 30/06/2017


Original version with subtitles


Film Notes

One of the best West-Meets-East movies ever, this mid-seventies picture benefits from Leonard Schrader’s deep respect and knowledge of Japanese culture, his brother Paul’s cerebral incisiveness, and script-rewriter Robert Towne’s sense of place combined with his artistic credo (‘let’s get lost’ could be the theme song, as in his masterpiece Chinatown). Detective Harry Kilmer reluctantly returns to Japan to help his old friend George Tanner, whose daughter has been kidnapped by the Yakuza, presumably to force him to repay a debt. Debts, honor, and friendship loom heavy in this story, and Harry wearily unravels plots so devious that even he did not see them coming, or want to.
Mitchum, approaching sixty, in what was probably the last role he cared about, is unforgettable in his autumnal beauty and melancholy. The film also abounds in cool, turtle-necks, shades and plaid pants – as well as mid-life weariness. But this is no star vehicle: here he is almost in the shadow of his co-actors. Brooding and perpetually frowning Ken Takakura, an immense star in his country, steals every scene he’s in. But Brian Keith, Richard Jordan, and the lovely Keiko Kishi also help Mitchum shine in no small measure. The pace is leisurely, the dialogue heavy and finely written, the action sparse, but when it comes it is almost shocking, as when a raging Mitchum bursts into Keith’s office, breaking the door in an explosion reminiscent of Sam Fuller’s House of Bamboo.

Philippe Garnier



Cast and Credits

Sog.: Leonard Schrader. Scen.: Paul Schrader, Robert Towne. F.: Kozo Okazaki. M.: Thomas Stanford, Don Guidice. Scgf.: Stephen Grimes. Mus.: Dave Grusin. Int.: Robert Mitchum (Harry Kilmer), Ken Takakura (Ken Tanaka), Brian Keith (George Tanner), Eiji Okada (Tono), Herb Edelman (Wheat), Richard Jordan (Dusty), James Shigeta (Goro), Keiko Kishi (Eiko). Prod.: Sydney Pollack per Warner Bros. 35mm. D.: 123’. Col