Written by: Michael Den Boer on April 20th, 2004
Theatrical Release Date: Japan, August 25th, 1972
Director: Shunya Ito
Writer: Tooru Shinohara
Cast: Meiko Kaji, Yayoi Watanabe
DVD Released: April 27th, 2004
Approximate Running Time: 87 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono Japanese
DVD Release: Media Blasters / Tokyo Shock
Region Coding: Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $19.95
Synopsis: The film opens with a bang as Mastu (Meiko Kaji) and Yuki (Yayoi Watanabe) have pulled off a daring broad day light prison break out. After Mastu and Yuki are caught the warden cuts back on all the prisoner’s food rations and this leads to the other prisoners hatred of Mastu. As punishment for trying to escape Mastu is now in solitary confinement.
She has a flash back about Sugimi a narcotics officer who wants Mastu to infiltrate the night club owned by Yakuza organization and found out the smugglers routes. The Yakuza are on to her and they take her into a back and rape her. Sugimi enters the room, but he doesn’t help he has betrayed her and joined forces with the Yakuza. Mastu is sent to prison after a trying to kill Sugimi for betraying her. After an all-out riot Mastu escapes and kills those who had betrayed her.
Shunya Ito’s directorial debut Female Prisoner #701 Scorpion is full of hallucinatory surreal vision that could have come straight from hell. Meiko Kaji recently left Nikkatsu studios when they decided to cease their production of mainstream action and youth films and focus more on pink films and Roman porn. One of her first jobs with Toei, Female Prisoner #701 Scorpion as Nami Matsushima, a part which she would play four times and with the success of the Lady Snowblood films Meiko Kaji was one of the most preeminent female action stars of the 1970’s. Shunya Ito’s direction is inspired and what he achieves on an artistic level for such a low budget and genre film is astonishing. Meiko Kaji’s performance is dead on and she does for Mastu what Clint Eastwood did for Blondie in The Man with No Nametrilogy. Ultimately Female Prisoner #701 Scorpion is the Citizen Kane of women in prison films.
The film is anamorphic enhanced and it is letterboxed at 2:35:1 and the colors are bright and full of life. There is no grain and the print used is immaculate with no artifacts. The blacks are deep and the detail in this transfer is very good for a film 32 years old.
The soundtrack is in Japanese mono and the sound is crystal clear without any hint of hiss or distortion. The subtitles are easy to follow and read. Overall a solid audio source on this DVD that gets the job done.
This DVD comes with, the original trailer for Female Prisoner #701 Scorpion and a photo gallery with music in the background. Tokyo Shock has also included 4 trailers for other films they carry on DVD and extensive liner notes written by Chris D. author of the upcoming books Outlaw Masters of Japanese Film as well as Gun and Sword. If you have already seen Female Convict Scorpion: Jailhouse 41 then you are going to want to check out Female Prisoner #701 Scorpion which has enough T&A and sadistic violence to entertain any hardcore WIP or revenge genre fan. This is the one that started the series and I highly recommend you check it out.