Nikkatsu Diamond Guys Volume 1 | Blu-ray Review

In celebration of Japan’s oldest film studio, Nikkatsu, Arrow Video assembles its first collection of titles reflecting the late 1950s inauguration of a star system contracted for their ‘Diamond Line.’ This trio of features reflects the rising popularity of extravagant genre narratives in the evolving system, and includes obscure titles from master auteurs such as Seijun Suzuki, Toshio Masuda, and Buichi Saito (early titles from Suzuki and Masuda were also part of a notable 2009 Eclipse series set, Nikkatsu Noir).

The pearl of the collection is Suzuki’s Voice without a Shadow, a rare gem from the master director’s early period. One of four films he made in 1958 (another being the early classic Underworld Beauty), it feels rather heavily modeled after various American film noir tropes, but in true Suzuki fashion, much more complicated. If “Beauty” felt like a generous Sam Fuller riff, then “Voice” seems a recalibration of something like Sorry,
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