Written by: Michael Den Boer on August 28th, 2007
Theatrical Release Date: Japan, 1970
Director: Yasuharu Hasebe
Writers: Yasuharu Hasebe, Atsushi Yamatoya
Cast: Meiko Kaji , Nobuko Aoki, Tatsuya Fuji, Mie Hanabusa
|Approximate running time:||84m55s||85m10s|
|Aspect Ratio:||2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen||2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen|
|Sound:||Dolby Digital Mono Japanese with English subtitles||Dolby Digital Mono Japanese (No English Subtitles)|
|DVD Release:||Image Entertainment||Nikkatsu|
|Region Coding:||Region 1 NTSC||Region 2 NTSC|
|Retail Price:||$19.95||3,800 Yen ($32.80)|
Image Entertainment DVD
The backdrop behind this Stray Cat film revolves around half-breeds (half Japanese/half something else). Kazuma a half breed comes to town in search of his lost sister Megumi who he hasn’t seen since she was adopted by Mama Blues. Mako (Meiko Kaji), is a leader of an all girl gang and she is in love with the Baron leader of his own gang the Eagles. When Mako forms a relationship with Kazuma, The Baron’s hatred dates back to when his sister was raped by a half breed. The Baron becomes jealous and beats him near death and offers him one last chance to leave town. Mako helps nurse Kazuma back to health as she grows closer to him and she helps him try to find his lost sister. Kazuma makes a deal with The Baron he will leave town if The Baron and his gang help him find his sister. The Baron is irritated that Mako and her gang have been helping the half breed Kazuma so The Baron unknown to the girls invites them to a party where he has sold them off as sex toys.
Both releases present the film in an anamorphic widescreen which preserves the films original aspect ratio. The Nikkatsu release which is the newer of the two and it was also the one which had access to the films original negatives is a marked improved in colors, details, flesh tones, black levels and it even looks cleaner overall.
Both releases come with only one audio option the films original Japanese language track which is presented in a Dolby Digital mono. Quality wise they sound very similar and there are no noticeable audio defects. The slight edge goes to the Image Entertainment release for including English subtitles.
The extras for the Image Entertainment release include a filmography for director Yasuharu Hasebe, the trailer, and the insightful liner notes by film critic Richard Kadrey. Other extras include a Zatoichi Collection promo trailer. Extras for the Nikkatsu release include the films original trailer in Japanese (No English subtitles), image gallery with 10 stills, cast and crew bios/filmographies, liner notes (Text in Japanese) and a reversible cover with original poster art.
The Nikkatsu release is clearly the best looking of the lot while it is on par in the audio and extras department with the Image Entertainment release. The only thing that Image Entertainment release has going for it is it’s the inclusion of English subtitles and a cheaper retail price. If you are a fan of Meiko Kaji you will want to pick up the Nikkatsu Stray Cat Rock box set before it goes out print and if you only have a passing interest in these types of films the more affordable and English friendly Image Entertainment release is the way to go.