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Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Mid-Week Movie Break: Black Tight Killers





Biff! Bang! Pow! All we’re missing are the flashing onomatopoeia title cards in this swinging 1966 time capsule of the grooviest aspects of the mid-60’s pop culture mania, for this week’s Mid-Week Movie Break. This week we highlight the tongue-in-cheek spectacle Black Tight Killers, starring Akira Kobayashi and Chieko Matsubara.
Screen grab showcasing some of the oddball club interiors seen in the film.

Sandwiched between the tail end of the Nikkatsu noir movies of the 1960’s, and the first wave of the Pinky Violence exploitation films on the 1970’s, Black Tight Killers (Ore ni Sawaru to Abunaize) is a pop art spectacle well worth the time it takes to seek it out.  For a taste of what’s in store for you, you can watch the trailer here.

Akira Kobayashi 45 on Colombia
Our hero (Kobayashi) is a combat photographer named Hondo. Hondo is enchanted by a young stewardess named Yuriko (Matsubara) during his flight back home from a recent assignment, and she concedes to have dinner with him. The date doesn’t end well, as Yuriko is kidnapped and Hondo is framed for the death of a gangster. The real killers? A group of women in black tights and jackets with knives hidden in their hair brushes; the titular Black Tight Killers! It appears Yuriko is a marked woman, as a coalition of hoods–formed by American mafioso and Japanese yakuza–are after her to get their hands on some gold her father may have stolen and hidden away during WWII. As Hondo tries to clear himself with the police and track down the missing Yuriko, he’s constantly hindered, and helped, by the group of assassins who employ such bizarre weaponry as exploding golf balls, chewing gum bullets to spit into the eyes of their enemies, deadly tape measures, and 45rpm records thrown like throwing stars. And get this, when they aren’t out foiling Hondo or knocking off gangsters, the ladies moonlight as a troupe of go-go dancers in a crazy rock club! What is their part in all of this madness? Watch and find out!


Take all of the best camp elements of The Man From U.N.C.L.E., James Bond and Batman, throw in some Takeshi Terauchi surf guitar and Japanese Group Sounds 45s, some secret agent jazz, a little skin (though no visible nudity), go-go dancing film breaks, blend well, then you have the crazy concoction that is Black Tight Killers. Want more proof of the candy colored madness that awaits you? Watch this dream sequence from the film (not the original music, though)! It’s like The 5.6.7.8.’s got their own girl gang flick!

The Black Tight Killers in a masked go-go dance frenzy
The film was directed by Yasuharu Hasebe, who went on to direct Alleycat Rock: Female Boss, about warring female biker gangs, and a number of the aforementioned Pinky Violence films. Lead actor Akira Kobayashi did some film and television work through the early 1970s, was a popular crooner for a while, including the title tracks to a number of his films, then became a professional golfer. Actress Chieko Matsubara was spotted at a beauty contest and has since starred in over 115 films, including the classic Tokyo Drifter which came out the same year as our feature, and is still working today. She also apparently did some crooning of her own, as suggested by the sleeve pictured below. She released some singles in he late 60s on Columbia. The amazing soundtrack is provided by prolific film and television composer Naozumi Yamamoto, and as far as I can tell, is not available in any format, which is a damn shame.
Note the Goldfinger-esque gold-painted dancers. This is a plot point in how
the crooks intend to do away with Yuriko.
Chieko Matsubara 45 for Colombia Records.

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