Written by: Michael Den Boer on June 7th, 2004
Theatrical Release Date: Japan, 1966
Director: Yasuharu Hasebe
Writer: Ryuzo Nakanishi
Cast: Bokuzen Hidari, Chieko Matsubara, Akira Kobayashi, Akemi Kita
DVD Released: August 15th, 2000
Approximate Running Time: 84 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono Japanese
Subtitles: English (Burnt In)
DVD Release: Image Entertainment
Region Coding: Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $24.99
Synopsis: Hondo (Akira Kobayashi), is a photo-journalist who has just returned from an assignment photographing the Vietnam War. He meets Yoriko (Chieko Matsubara), a stewardess on his flight home. He convinces her to accompanying him to dinner. While they are eating Yoriko notices a man who has been following them and when the man approaches Yoriko she flees the restaurant. Hondo chases after them he finds a group of female assassins are attacking the man who had been following them. The female assassins kill the man and Hondo is framed for the murder. The black tight killers are a band of Okinawan go-go dancing patriots who mission is to return the stolen gold to its rightful owners. After an alibi proves his innocence he is released from jail and he begins he search for Yoriko by Aligning himself with the female assassins to help him rescue Yoriko from the bad guys. While two rival factions are at war over stolen gold from World War II.
Yasuharu Hasebe a former protégé of maverick director Seijun Suzuki would branch out on his own in 1966 and direct his first feature film Black Tight Killers. He would take what he had learned from Seijun Suzuki, bold colors and pulp sensibility that he would infuse into his own films. Part spy film and part pulp novel Black Tight Killers was Nikkatsu’s answer to the “James Bond” films. The female assassin’s know as the Black Tight killers have assortment of deadly objects like blinding bubble gum, razor-sharp 7″ vinyl, exploding golf balls and exploding bra pads. This movie is more campy then serious and the beautiful cinematography makes up for the incoherent plot. Even though the Black Tight Killers isn’t as inspired as Seijun Suzuki’s films, Yasuharu Hasebe takes what he had learned from Seijun Suzuki and comes away with a style all his own.
Black Tight Killers is given the anamorphic widescreen, which is letterboxed at 2.35:1. The source print exhibits scratches and grain, while the picture overall is quite clear and crisp with nicely rendered colors. The DVD shows no signs of major artifacting or compression problems.
There is only one audio option on this DVD the original Japanese audio track in Dolby Digital Mono and the audio is satisfactory. There are white subtitles that have been burnt into the print. They are easy to read and follow.
There two extras on this DVD, the original theatrical trailer and a 20-minute interview with director Yasuharu Hasebe as he discusses the film and his influences. There are extensive liner notes by Chris D.Black author of the upcoming book Yakuza Eiga: an encyclopedia of Japanese Gangster films 1956-1980. Black Tight Killers is fun film that offers plenty of action and enough eye popping color that fans of retro spy thrillers should enjoy.