Stage-struck Tora-san (1978)

  |  Comedy

Stage-struck Tora-san (1978) Poster

Tora-san returns from his travels throughout Japan to his family in Tokyo to find his uncle recovering from an illness. After a family fight erupts, he returns to the road swearing he'll ... See full summary »


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30 September 2019 | topitimo-829-270459
| Nothing New Under the Sun of Shibamata - but everything's way louder
In the 21. Tora-san, Yamada cranks up the volume in many ways. For the opening dream sequence, this worked. We get a parody or a blend of the many popular science-fiction movies of the day, like Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) and Star Wars (1977). Tora turning out to be an alien got good laughs. It would explain stuff.

The rest of the movie, however, is a little too bombastic and colorful for its own good. The charm of the Shibamata depiction in these films has always been a quiet one. For a character like Torajiro, the rest of the players need to balance the film with conventional acting and mundane activities. And the usual cast of Baisho Chieko and company don't have any trouble with this.

The problem is the new characters. Upon travelling in Kyushu, Tora befriends a young man named Tomekichi (Takeda Tetsuya), who is likewise not a great thinker and not well-rehearsed in the matters of love. After they return to Tokyo, Tora falls for Sakura's friend Nanako (Kinomi Nana), who is the star of a revue.

Both of these character act way broader than even Atsumi. Tora still got a few laughs here and there, but these were moments that Atsumi played near-silent. The abundance of weird musical elements in the audio landscape of the film, whether the didgeridoo playing everytime Tomekichi appears, or Nanako's Spanish-flamecco-disco performances, make this installation way too loud for a Tora-san film.

It's also not much of a narrative. The first half has its moments, but the second one is overlong and messy. Yamada and the gang made two of these every year, so sometimes your bound to have a lesser entry at your hands.

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Plot Summary




Release Date:

5 August 1978



Country of Origin


Filming Locations

Shibamata, Tokyo, Japan

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