Wednesday, December 12, 2007

女番長! 野良猫ロック / Stray Cat Rock: Delinquent Girl Boss

(Movie Review)

I'd be somewhat embarrassed to tell you how long I've looked for this movie, and how excited I was to see it in my local video store.

A few years ago I was in a retro book store here in Japan, and I found the soundtrack to the "Stray Cat Rock" movie series. I didn't know anything about the series or the soundtrack, but the pictures looked really cool so I bought it as an impulse buy (and I wonder why I can never save any money!)

Turned out to be one of my favorite CD purchases. Kind of a cross between cool jazz and psychadelic rock. Really fun music to put in the car and go for a drive.

As for the movies: all I could tell from the picture book included with the CD is that they looked really old, had lots of guns and sexy poses, and were probably part of the Japanese explotation movies of the early 70s.

Ever since then I've scoured the DVD rental shops in Japan to try and find these movies, but never with any luck. Then one day, I walk into my local rental store, and there they are, all 5 movies. (It turns out they were just newly re-released this month). This is the first movie in the series: Delinquent Girl Boss from 1970.

This film stars Meiko Kaji, who was a standard fixture in these 1970s explotation films, and in fact also stared in "Female Prisoner #701: Scorpion". And while this film is not nearly as offensive as the Female Prisoner series, there are a few elements of sadism mixed in it that give me pause before I go on record as recommending it.

And yet, there is a lot to love about this film as well. Especially (or perhaps I should say 'only') if you think old retro stuff is really cool like I do. Everything from the cheesy music to the outlandish fashion to the psychadelic light scenes to the motorcycle chases with the rock music playing in the background.

Speaking of music...
A lot of old Japanese movies were often partly designed as vehicles for pop musicians to make the transistion to the silver screen, and this movie appears to be no exception. The Group Sounds Band "The Mops" can be seen playing in some of the club house scenes. And the legendary Japanese singer Akiko Wada actually co-stars in this movie alongside Meiko Kaji.

Akiko Wada is one of those rare musicians that has managed to survive several different trends and is still often seen on Japanese TV today. At this time in her career she mostly did a sort of psychadelic music combined with Las Vegas type Tom Jones music (think lots of power saxophones in the back ground). Her character in the movie will shamelessly break into song at odd moments, but she has a great husky voice, and the music is delightfully retro-cheesy.

Link of the Day
Trial By Fire Hose

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