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The Stormy Man

aka The Guy Who Started a Storm (Arashi o Yobu Otoko)
Japan 1957. Dir: Umetsugu Inoue. 101 min. DCP

In the movie that made him a star, Yujiro Ishihara, the Japanese Elvis, plays Shoichi, a rowdy young hoodlum out to make it as a drummer in the Ginza jazz world. Mie Kitahara (Ishihara’s future wife) is Miyako, his new manager, as sassy and smart as she is gorgeous. Romantic sparks fly, but Shoichi’s first priority is to beat arrogant, gang-connected Charley (Toshio Oida), Ginza’s best drummer. The film was Japan’s third-biggest box-office success of 1957, made the Nikkatsu studio solvent, and solidified director Umetsugu Inoue’s reputation as a maker of hit musicals. For its young audience, who clapped and cheered as Ishihara sang “I’m a drummer, a no-good drummer,” the movie was an event and a generational marker. Today it still packs musical excitement — and presents Japan’s premier screen idol at his most charismatic.


"Shot through with sexual frankness, shocking violence, and genuinely twisted psychodrama ... A far cry from anything American song-and-dance movies were daring at the time."

Village Voice | full review