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  • boblipton17 September 2021
    The movie that I actually looked at is an edited compilation of a two-part movie, "Enoken no chakkiri Kinta 'Zen' - Mamayo sandogasa - Ikiwa yoiyoi" and Enoken no chakkiri Kinta 'Go', kaeri wa kowai, mateba hiyori . Both movies together time in at 137 minutes; the version I looked at lasted 74 minutes.

    Ken'ichi Enomoto is a pickpocket in Edo in the tumultuous year of 1868, when the Tokugawa Shogunate and the Meiji forces were fighting over who was to control Japan. Enomoto is a light-hearted fellow who picks the pocket off every Tokugawa samurai in a theater and distributes the contents among the population. Little police authorities call in national security men, particularly when it turns out that Enomoto has stolen some sensitive papers.

    Kajirô Yamamoto's movie is an out-and-out comedy; Enomoto's disrespect for authority is fine, because he doesn't steal from the Meiji forces. Instead, he goes on the run and gets involved in various comic sequences, some of which involve undercranked, high-speed chases, sevice comedy routines, and comic escapes. Yamamoto's command of comedy seems adequate,if a bit primitive, indicating that comedy is still not out of the silent era so far as he is concerned. However, his compositions, particularly those set outside the studio, are as beautiful and bucolic as any in his samurai movies; as I have noted before, Kurosawa -- who was third assistant director on this film -- continued in this vein in his 1950s samurai movies, setting many scenes in the beautiful, bucolic countryside. Here the best shots of that sort are long distance.