Revenge of the Pearl Queen
aka 女真珠王の復讐 aka Onna Shinju-o no Fukushu
Screenplay by Isao Matsumoto and Jun Sagara
Story by Yoshihisa Shimizu
Directed by Toshio Shimura
Revenge of the Pearl Queen is one of the first of the Japanese Topless Pearl Diver films – called ama (woman diver) films by those in the know. These films caused a sensation upon release due to the fact the starlets would whip off their clothes, giving audiences brief glimpses of nudity that was almost impossible to casually come across in 1956. The ama films became the equivalent of the US’s nudie cutie flicks that were filmed on nudist colonies. The ama films tried to compensate for their lack of plot possibilities by combining with other film genres, thus there were pearl diving dramas, action films, and even horror flicks! The ama films began to get phased out when it became more acceptable to have more sexual films in general, and are now just quaint historical artifacts (aside from some throwback films over the years that used the ama theme!)
Revenge of the Pearl Queen stars Michiko Maeda, who is often wearing clothes that get ripped off by the weather or by random jerks. Part of the suspense scenes are the wondering if she will fall out of her low-slung clothing, which she does just enough to keep audiences paying attention and paying to come back to the next several show times.
The island segments are loosely based on the true story of 19 Japanese men on the island of Anatahan after World War II, who did not believe the war was over. There was one woman on the island, and over time several of the men mysteriously disappeared or were found violently murdered as the woman switched her affections around. She escaped on an American ship in 1950, and finally the men left the island in 1951 after being sent a message from the Governor of Kanagawa Prefecture. More information is available here.
Screening as part of a double feature (with Yellow Line) at the Shintoho retrospective, I saw Revenge of the Pearl Queen at the YBCA with duriandave from SoftFilm, as Todd from FourDK had to take off. And that was the best decision Todd made in years! Let’s just say the Pearl Queen’s greatest revenge was how sleepy she made us!
Starman, a question a child might ask, but not a childish question. Because it’s a children’s movie! Nine of them! Combined into four American versions! Confused? Well, don’t be, because Tars and Todd are back again with another edition of the Infernal Brains Podcast to teach you all you need to know about Japan’s first cinematic super hero. He’s like Prince of Space, except better, because Prince of Space stole from him. Join us for the leaping and the long punching fight sequences and children being chased by witch women and corndog alien costumes and dance numbers. And find out why his girlfriend calls him “Super Giant”!
As usual, we got so many listening choices that even someone who is sickened by Salamander Men interpretive dancing can find a way: downloadable mp3, embedded flash with slideshow, embedded audio player, and iTunes feed link. So many choices, you’ll wave your arms randomly in the air as the Emerald Council decides to send Starman to save you once again!
Watch in slideshow form:
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Super Giant (スーパー・ジャイアンツ)
Super Giant Continues (続スーパー・ジャイアンツ)
Super Giant – The Mysterious Spacemen’s Demonic Castle (スーパー・ジャイアンツ 怪星人の魔城)
Super Giant – Earth on the Verge of Destruction (スーパー・ジャイアンツ 地球滅亡寸前)
Super Giant – The Artificial Satellite and the Destruction of Humanity (スーパー・ジャイアンツ 人工衛星と人類の破滅)
Super Giant – The Spaceship and the Clash of the Artificial Satellite (スーパー・ジャイアンツ 宇宙艇と人工衛星の激突)
Super Giant – The Space Mutant Appears (スーパー・ジャイアンツ 宇宙怪人出現)
Super Giant Continues – The Devil’s Incarnation (続スーパー・ジャイアンツ 悪魔の化身)
Super Giant Continues – The Poison Moth Kingdom (続スーパー・ジャイアンツ 毒蛾王国)
Some source images from BlackSun
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Prior Infernal Brains:
Taiwanese Giant Monster Films Part 1
Taiwanese Giant Monster Films Part 2
Polly Shang Kuan
Turkish Pop Cinema Part 1
Turkish Pop Cinema Part 2
Infernal Brains Podcast – 07 – Insee Daeng
Infernal Brains Podcast – 08 – Worst Podcast Ever
The Mummies of Guanajuato – Infernal Brains Podcast Episode 09
Jane Bond – Infernal Brains Podcast Episode 10
Daigoro vs Goliath – Infernal Brains Podcast Episode 11
Down the Rabbit Hole with Pearl Cheung Ling – Infernal Brains Podcast Episode 12
Through the Looking Glass with Pearl Cheung Ling – Infernal Brains Podcast Episode 13
Finally, our journey through the Starman saga is coming to a close, as we come to the last of the films made by editing episodes of the Super Giant serials of the 1950s. This one, Atomic Rulers, is the worst of the lot, if that is believable. Not only is it a Starman movie, but he doesn’t even fight aliens, but humans from the fictional country of Magolia (not Magnolia or Mongolia, though either would have sounded better). Basically it is on par with the “Superman vs. random guy” stories where “why is this even a challenge?” repeats in your head as you read. But nevertheless we must press on to complete the series and have closure.
Starman Invaders From Space
Like the other Starman movies, this is edited from episodes of the Super Giant serials of the 1950s. As the story unfolds here, the Salamander Men of Planet Kulimon, deep in the Moffit Galaxy (where else would it be?) are planning to destroy Earth. The Emerald Planet, also in the Moffit Galaxy, has a meeting of the Emerald Council as atomic destruction of Earth would contaminate their atmosphere (The Emerald Council must get their science advice from a guy on LSD) They decide to send STARMAN to Earth to solve the problems. Why Starman can’t just go to close by Kulimar and beat up Salamander Men at home is not addressed. In fact, just don’t think about it, this is a STARMAN show, we expect to see long fight sequences where Starman prances about, not plot. And boy does this movie not disappoint on that front.
Starman Evil Brain From Outer Space
Like the other Starman movies, this is edited from 3 episodes of the Super Giant serials of the 1950s. (this one being episodes 7, 8 and 9, Suupaa jaiantsu – Uchuu kaijin shutsugen and Zoku suupaa jaiantsu – Akuma no keshin, and Zoku suupaa jaiantsu – Dokuga Okoku) In this exciting Episode, Our Hero Starman from the Emerald Planet must battle an evil Space Brain! Which lives in a suitcase. Because he’s evil! Just like your father who lives out of his suitcase as he is always away on business while you are left alone watching mommy cry. Don’t leave, Daddy! Please don’t go!
Starman Attack From Space
|Ken Utsui as Starman (Super Giant)|
This movie is edited from 2 episodes of the Super Giant serials of the 1950s. (this one being episodes 5 and 6, JINKO EISEN TO JINRUI NO HAMETSU and UCHUTEI TO JINKO EISEN NO KEKITOTSU) If you’ve ever seen Invasion of the Neptune Men or Prince of Space then you have a good idea what Starman movies are like, and know to proceed with caution. For those of you who haven’t been to the world of Japanese 50’s superhero sci-fi, it is a frightening journey into madness and shame. Or at least very similar to modern day Power Rangers or Ultraman type shows, except no one grows big, and there is usually only one good guy who is invincible and kills hundreds of evil Bad Dudes. So strap yourself in and prepare for the ride.