Intimidation (1960)

Director: Koreyoshi Kurahara

This film only runs an hour and a bit, but damn it felt like it was a lot longer somehow, and I can’t work out why. I’ve only seen one Kurahara film previously (I am Waiting, from the Eclipse “Nikkatsu Noir” set); this finds him rather more solidly established at Nikkatsu a few years later, and evidently somewhat more confident with his story… Here we have a tale of two men working at a bank, one, Takita, who’s basically got where he is by marrying the boss’ daughter, and is now a manager about to move from his little regional branch to the big city home office; and the other, Nakaike, his underling who he’s always stepped on, and who’s apparently never had much spine or ambition to advance himself like his boss and former friend. But Takita hasn’t exactly behaved spotlessly, and when a small-time hoodlum shows up with evidence of his wrongdoings, well, complications ensue.

And they keep ensuing in somewhat unexpected fashion, too, which is quite nice; Kurahara’s got solid control of his material, it’s interestingly filmed in lovely monochrome ‘Scope, the noir atmosphere is all over it, acting is really good (Ko Nishimura is particularly fine as Nakaike, who turns out to be rather more than he initially appears)… I just can’t explain that feeling of it being a lot longer than its 65-minute duration, cos I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the pacing; it doesn’t try to cram too much business in, it doesn’t spread too little material too thinly… I never really felt that it was dragging or anything. Whatever. I still liked it well enough, it’s a good B-picture. Certainly not complaining about it.

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