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Review: Nikkatsu Diamond Guys Vol. 1 (Box Set) Arrow Video

Nikkatsu Diamond Guys Vol. 1 (Box Set)
4 stars

Starring: Hideaki Nitani, Yujiro Ishihara, Akira Kobayashi

Directors: Seijun Suzuki, Toshio Masuda, Buichi Saito

Release Date: January 26, 2016

Run Time: 269 Minutes (3 Films)

Format: Blu-Ray Color: B&W/Color

Audio: Japanese Subtitles: English

Distributor: Arrow Video

Synopsis – Box Set

Nikkatsu, the oldest film studio in Japan, inaugurated a star system in the late 1950s, finding talent and contracting to their Diamond Line for a series of wild genre pictures. This collection celebrates these “Diamond Guys” with three classic films from directors Seijun Suzuki (Branded to Kill), Toshio Masuda (Rusty Knife) and Buichi Saito (Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart in Peril).

Presented on Blu-ray and DVD for the first time in the West, these thrilling genre films feature Nikkatsu’s leading talent at their best. – Arrow Films

Extras

 

  • Limited Edition Blu-ray collection (3000 copies)
  • High Definition digital transfers of all three films, from original film elements by Nikkatsu Corporation
  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentation
  • Original uncompressed mono audio
  • Newly translated English subtitles
  • Specially recorded video discussions with Japanese cinema expert Jasper Sharp on Diamond Guys Hideaki Nitani and Yujiro Ishihara
  • Original trailers for all three films and trailer preview for Diamond Guys Vol. 2
  • Extensive promotional image galleries for all three films
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Graham Humphreys
  • Booklet featuring new essays on all three films and director profiles by Stuart Galbraith, Tom Mes and Mark Schilling
My Thoughts

This is a box set of three films dealing with the Gangster Genre in Nikkatsu Film Company. First two films are in black and white, the third is in color. None of the films relate to each other and the box set features films from one Company called Nikkastsu which is part of the title. more volumesshould be coming soon. Next time it will be all based around comedy. How do I know this? It’s in the Extras, so check out the extras.

The box set is limited to 3000 so if you’re a fan of Japanese cinema and or an Arrow Video Collector, you might want to pick this up.

Nikkatsu Diamond Guys Volume 1 was a nice watch with my favorite film being the first film called Voice without A Shadow and even thought it’s not a real gangster film its a great mystery.

Next comes The Rambling Guitarist making the cut to 2nd favorite with its story line and Mystery Lead who is good at Singing, Playing Guitar and piano but also great with a gun and using his fist.

The weakest film in this box set for me was Red Pier. It deals more with the Gangster Element then the other two as it’s a full-time gangster film but wished it had more action. By the way all three films doesn’t have much action. Some shootouts, some one gets strangled, one person gets killed by a crane and another almost crushed by a crane. We have a few shoot outs but with the third film we also get a few one on one gun duels.

With that said The box set was a great view and I recommend it. I Give this box set a 4 out of 5 which is the average of all three films combine. Pick it up, put it on your shelf before it’s all gone. I Look forward to Volume 2.

I Have viewed and reviewed all three films and they can be found below separated by red title boxes.

 

Voice Without a Shadow

Voice Without a Shadow

4 stars

Starring: Hideaki Nitani, Yôko Minamida, Jô Shishido

Directed: Seijun Suzuki

Theatrical Release Date: October 22, 1958 (Japan)

Run Time: 92Minutes

Color: B&W

Audio:Japanese Subtitles: English

 

Synopsis
An old hand at tough guy action roles, Hideaki Nitani (Tokyo Drifter, Massacre Gun) stars in Suzuki’s Voice Without a Shadow. Asako, a former telephone operator once heard the voice of a murder suspect which has continued to haunt her. Years later her husband invites his boss, Hamazaki, over for dinner and she realises his voice is suspiciously like that of the killer. Before she can investigate further, Hamazaki is found dead and her husband becomes the prime suspect…
Audio/Video

Audio

Audio Language: Japanese
Dubbed:
Subtitles: English

The sound quality is OK not a five-star sound due to some clipping. I did notice I didn’t have to turn up my receiver as high as I normally do for movies so it’s a little Louder.

Rating: 4 stars

Picture Quality

Disc Format: Blu-Ray

The picture quality is good not great. It’s pretty sharp for its age but the film has not been 100% fixed of defects due to the film. You get white scratches at bottom and top of screen every now and again. No way to fix it as you can’t add film that’s not there.

Rating: 4 stars

 

Review

Voice Without a Shadow is like an old Japanese film noir mystery. It’s fun to see films made in the 50’s that is not samurai related. The film deals with gangsters, a few murders that twist the film into a film that has a Alfred Hitchcock vibe. At one point the film gets a tad weird and this portion also gives me a David lynch vibe. Now yes the movie has gangsters in it a few gangster actions but mainly the film is a mystery

The film was a good watch and kept me entertained. No action, it’s a tad slow, no swords but the mystery of a murder will get you involved. The first half of the film we get a few gangster s who like gambling but intertwined is a female who has witnessed a murder via phone call so she know this guys voice. The 2nd half of the film is about the investigation of a murder and not the one this female has witnessed but it involves her husband and the gangsters he worked for this portion of the film involve a journalist trying unravel the mystery while investigators place blame on the females leads her husband. The film has a few turns a few odd moments like the female lead going crazy and the film ends on a gangster note with the mystery being solved

Overall the film was a good watch, loved the mystery aspect. The story was great but like I said a tad slow at times. Add a few more twists and turns a few more weird David lynch type moments. A boob or two and we could have had an even better film.

With that said I give this film a 4 out of 5 as it was a great watch and I recommend any Japanese cinema viewers and or arrow video collectors to pick this limited box set up. Off to the next film in this set

 

Trailer

 

Red Pier

Red Pier

3.5 stars

Starring: Yûjirô Ishihara, Mie Kitahara, Masumi Okada

Directed: Toshio Masuda

Theatrical Release Date: September 23, 1958 (Japan)

Run Time: 99 Minutes

Color: B&W

Audio: Japanese Subtitles: English

 

Synopsis
50s subculture icon Yujiro Ishihara (Crazed Fruit) stars in Masuda’s Red Pier as “Jiro the Lefty”, a killer with a natural talent. Shortly after arriving in Kobe, he witnesses a man die in a crane accident which turns out to be a cover-up for a murder. Jiro soon finds himself on the run, tailed by a determined cop…
Audio/Video

Audio

Audio Language: Japanese
Dubbed:
Subtitles: English

Sound Quality is the same as the first film in this box set with some distortion on the higher end during Louder sounds

Rating: 4 stars

Picture Quality

Disc Format: Blu-Ray

Just like the Sound the Picture Quality is about the same as the first film but with less film damage and scratches. It’s sharp.

Rating: 4 stars

Review

Red Pier is an all around gangster film dealing with gang subject matter. From start to finish the story revolves around gangsters, killings and a playboy who finds himself In between two women.

The story is good but could be better. Action wise it’s minimal with a few gun play scenes and a guy getting crushed by a Crane. The film runs a bit slow and one thing I wish was incorporated was more of the lifestyle of the gangsters like spending money on things.

Overall the film was a good watch but for me it’s the slowest and weakest of all three films in this box set even though it has more gangster subject matter then the other 2 films. Add more action, more story on the lifestyle of the guys like gathering guns and collecting money and buying suits would have been cool. Add all those thing and I feel we would have seen a better movie

With that said I give Red Pier a 3.5 out of 5. If your into Japanese cinema, gangster flicks and love collecting arrow video movies then you should put this limited box set on your shelf. Off to the last film.

 

Trailer

 

 

The Rambling Guitarist

The Rambling Guitarist

4 stars

Starring: Akira Kobayashi, Ruriko Asaoka, Sanae Nakahara

Directed: Takeichi Saitô

Theatrical Release Date: October 11, 1959 (Japan)

Run Time: 78 Minutes

Color: Color

Audio:Japanese Subtitles: English

 

Synopsis
In Saito’s The Rambling Guitarist, mega star Akira Koabyashi (Battles Without Honour and Humanity) stars as wandering street musician Shinji, who falls in with mob boss Akitsu after saving one of his henchmen in a bar fight. Tasked by Akitsu with evicting an offshore fishery, Shinji finds himself in the middle of a very unusual domestic dispute…
Audio/Video

Audio

Audio Language: Japanese
Dubbed:
Subtitles: English

The sound quality is pretty good with no distortion that I can hear. A tad bit better than the first two films

Rating: 4.5 stars

Picture Quality

Disc Format: Blu-Ray

The picture quality is good with good colors that still give it that old film feel but not as sharp as it could be due to film grain.No Film damage but like I said not as sharp as the first two films due to color grain.

Rating: 4 stars

Review

The Rambling Guitarist is a gangster film that revolves around this wandering guitarist. He is pretty much a mystery and seems like this guy has some skill not only playing piano, guitars and singing but he can also fight and is pretty good with a gun.

This guy is hired by a boss of a gang that wants him to do some jobs like collecting debts. No the film isn’t a full gangster film we also have a small love story and of course there’s the whole mystery of this guy itself. Mid way through the film a new guy enters that is known to the gang but of course he recognizes this guy.

The story of the film was good, the action was good it’s just that I wish the hand to hand combat scenes were more realistic, gun action was good when it came. The film runs short and I feel it could have been longer like maybe more back story later in the film of the lead. But hey we get who he is and why he wondering by the end of the film.

Over all the film was a good watch with a twist and turn int the story. Add more story in the romance between the lead and the bosses daughter, more back story on the guy and maybe another shootout along with more realistic fights and we could have had a better film.

With that said I give The Rambling Guitarist a 4 out of 5. Hey the guy has a good voice, if you like gangster films that dong go full gangster with a mystery then you should pick this up also if you’re an arrow video collector of course you should pick this limited box set up.

 

Trailer

None

 

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About Masked Avenger

CEO/Webmaster of soreelflix.com. The Name Is James and I love Film ranging from Silent 20’s to highly CGI Blockbusters of today. Westerns, Horror, world film, basically anything that peaks my interest I own it But Asian Films are what I Prize the most and Half of My collection Consists of Asian Films. Thanks to the Film 5 Deadly Venoms

I Hail From The US, Maryland Is where The Ninja Studies and views the Scrolls of Film That Shine on his 46″ Screen. I own a sword, I can do a thousand upside down situps, and I randomly disappear in smoke when I’m not writing movie news and or reviews.

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