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Nyotai Sanbashi

Flesh Pier

Japan 1958
produced by
Mitsugu Okura (executive) for Shintoho
directed by Teruo Ishii
starring Ken Utsui, Akemi Tsukushi, Yoko Mihara, Seiji Hara
written by Teruo Ishii, Akira Sagawa

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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All Yoshioka (Ken Utsui) wanted was to spend some time with a prostitute, but then he finds her dead in her hotel room. To not be involved in this murder he had nothing to do with, he makes an escape - but soon the police is on the look-out for him because he has been seen on the scene of the crime. When he has almost made it out of town, he is approached by a woman who knows about his (non-)involvement with the murder as well as his shady past, and she makes him an offer to join the organisation the dead girl was working for, a prostitution ring that is specialized in turning models into whores and selling them to foreign countries. Yoshioka agrees, also because he has no other options.

The police in the meantime is doing its best to shed light into the prostitute murder as well as uncovering the illegal operations of the prostitution ring - and their top agent is no other than Yoshioka himself, whose biography has been forged so that he will be approached to join the organisation. There is one problem, one of the heads of the ring, Rumi (Yoko Mihara), is Yoshioka's ex, and now that they are working together, they see their old love resurfacing, which clouds both their judgement. Still, Yoshioka is successful in keeping the fact that he's a journalist under wraps, until Haruko, a reporter who knows him and who works undercover as a model to expose the prostitution ring, slips him a note, something that is witnessed by Kid, a musician who works in the nightclub which is headquarters to the organisation.

Kid spills the beans to Rumi, and the two of them kidnap Haruko and force the truth out of her ... but she simply can't expose Yoshioka because she is in love with him despite everything. Now the next logical step would be for Kid to expose her and Yoshioka both, but he is in love with Rumi, so he tries to keep her out of it and only spill the beans on Yoshioka to the big boss - who immediately decides to lure both Yoshioka into a death trap aboard the ship on which a shipload of models-turned-prostitutes is to be shipped out of the country. Rumi smells the fish, but since Kid is still on her side, she convinces him to release Haruko and get the police.

In the final shoot-out aboard the ship, Yoshioka manages to gun down pretty much all the baddies, but Rumi catches a fatal bullet as well, just because she wouldn't leave his side. The police arrives only when everything's already over ...

 

No masterpiece maybe but a fast-moving low budget crime thriller that's directed by Teruo Ishii very early in his career, and even if it's still a far cry from the bizarre and weirdly artistic sex-and-crime excesses Ishii became known for from the late 1960's onwards, this story about nightclubs and prostitutes is already a clear indicator for the director's interest in the seedier side of crime.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Thanks for watching !!!

 

 

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Tales to Chill
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