Like A Shooting Star (The Velvet Hustler), Toshio Masuda, 1967.
posted by Christine
Shutupanddeal went to the Japan Society last night for a screening of Like a Shooting Star, one of the Nikkatsu action films in the “No Borders, No Limits” series. The last film in the series, The Warped Ones, was about a jazz-obsessed thug named Akira. The film was melodramatic and ultra-stylish, with intense close-ups of scowling faces and long drives to the beach on windy roads. Like a Shooting Star doesn’t have the jazz, but its hero, Goro, has his own soundtrack — a tune he whistles that mixes with the music that follows him all through Kobe, where he’s settled since a shooting the head of another crime family.
Goro’s a wacky loner, a killer with a heart of gold who likes nothing more than reclining on a rocking chair at the bay with his hat over his face. He’s grown tired of women, although his “mama,” the local madam, insists that his current prostigirlfriend, Yuriko, is the one for him. Yuriko also calls the madam “mama,” I guess has the effect of making this criminal clan seem like one big happy, um, family. Gross. (Early in the movie, he tries to explain to Yuriko that it’s not that he doesn’t love her, it’s just that he’s tired of her — but weirdly, this drives the poor thing to despair.) To cut the summary short, a jeweler winds up dead and his gorgeous, classy, Paris-obsessed girlfriend comes to Kobe to investigate. She and Goro fall in love, but there’s another hitman on Goro’s tail and is she-or-isn’t-she a virgin and how many dresses did she cram into that tiny suitcase and what kind of life could they have together in Manila, for gods sake, and…
Mod music! Impromptu musical numbers! Disco dancing in swanky clubs, purple hotel walls and motorboats oh-so-conveniently waiting just for you. Masuda has a lot to teach you about crime but even more to teach you about women.
Things I learned from women by watching Like a Shooting Star:
1. They can never decide if they want to sleep with you or not, and then when they make up their minds, it’s the one night that you have to go kill a guy. Typical.
2. They like to dress in bright colors.
3. They are excellent dancers, and particularly enjoy doing the mashed potato and that disco move where you just walk around each other with small steps.
4. The ones you don’t want are clingy; the ones you do are like ice.
5. They will sing at the drop of a hat; if you like them, you’ll harmonize.
6. Women are inconsistent. Perhaps fatally disloyal. This last lesson turns out to be learned a little too late. No surprise there.