Kaoyaku akatsukini shisu (1961)

Kaoyaku akatsukini shisu (1961) Poster

After a long stint working in Alaska, Jiro returns to his hometown. He soon learns that his father, the town's mayor, was murdered and, in his absence, the yakuza gangs have seized control ... See full summary »

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30 January 2019 | tnf50
| Nothing Special from Toho Studios
Big Shots Die at Dawn (1962) Unlike rival studios Nikkatsu and Toei, Toho never had a feel for Yakuza movies. It was like major league MGM vs minor leaguers Columbia and RKO when it came to films noir. Still, the big Japanese studio had a popular stable of contract players and some very big stars. Big Shots Die at Dawn (the bizarre title has nothing to do with the picture) was a vehicle for actor / singer Yûzô Kayama. His career took off with his next picture Daigaku no wakadaishô, the first in the long-running "Young Guy" series. Here, he plays the "black sheep" son of the mayor of a Japanese city. He returns from running forestry services in Alaska to discover his father was assassinated, the old man had married his secretary who is now living in the family mansion and the city has been taken over by two warring Yakuza clans. Kayama proceeds to investigate the murder while alienating the police, the Yakuza and his "mother." Thanks to a clumsy plot, he manages to solve the crime without mussing up his hair. The screenplay by genre specialists Ichirô Ikeda and Ei Ogawa has some nice twists, but lacks drama and excitement. Young director Kihachi Okamoto adds some nice stylistic touches and a little subversive humor to the movie. However, he lacks the flair and intensity of a genre master like Kinji Fukasaku. One of the main problems with Big Shots Die at Dawn is star Kayama. His smart-ass character is pretty hard to like. Well produced, the film benefits from the efforts of familiar supporting actors like Akihiko Hirata and Kunie Tanaka.

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Release Date:

10 April 1961



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