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The Eagle and the Hawk

(Washi to Taka)
Japan 1957. Dir: Umetsugu Inoue. 115 min. DCP

Umetsugu Inoue’s follow-up to The Winner has heartthrob Yujiro Ishihara as a seaman who joins the crew of a rusty cargo ship to avenge himself on his father’s enemy. His cocky attitude gets him into trouble with the crew, but also attracts the attention of the two women on board, a sultry stowaway (Yumeji Tsukioka) and the captain’s high-spirited daughter (Ruriko Asaoka). Rentaro Mikuni and Hiroyuki Nagato play Ishihara’s rivals. Inoue’s script does not play out in obvious ways, just as Ishihara’s character is hard to classify. Neither heartless tough nor pure-minded exemplar, he’s something new to Japanese films: a dirty hero with his own sense of justice and a way with a song! Inoue shot the film aboard a real WWII cargo ship in Tokyo Bay; the authentic pitching, rolling, and spraying seawater add to the danger and excitement.