Yasujiro Ozu (Tokyo Story) honed his craft in the early 1930s, a time when young Japanese directors were experimenting with cinematic conventions. This two-disc set features three gangster-genre films in which Ozu mixes a Hollywood-infused dynamism with elements of his later style.
Walk Cheerfully (aka 'Hogaraka Ni Ayume') 1930 Kenji 'the Knife' Koyama, leader of a gang of hooligans, falls for the virtuous Yasue. Will he go straight to win her heart or carry on his life of petty crime? Reminiscent of Sternberg's Underworld with its expressionist lighting, 'Walk Cheerfully' combines international cinematic influences with Ozu's own comic touches.
That Night's Wife (aka 'Sono Yo No Tsuma') 1930 Young father Shuji turns to crime to pay his daughter's medical bills. Enter Detective Kagawa for a tense night-time stand-off with Shuji's wife, Mayumi. 'That Night's Wife' demonstrates Ozu's dramatic mastery as the film reaches its emotional climax.
Dragnet Girl (aka 'Hijosen No Onna') 1933 Typist by day, gangster's moll at night, sweet-faced Tokiko (Kinuyo Tanaka) is forced to reassess her life when her boyfriend strays. Hugely popular when it was released, 'Dragnet Girl' remains one of Ozu's most enduring silent films.