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Underworld Beauty

4.0 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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(Jan 20, 2004)
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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

The moment he's released from prison, the honorable gangster Miyamoto recovers the stolen diamonds he had stashed before getting pinched. When he returns to his haunt to make good by friend who took a bullet for him, he is diverted by the greedy boss Oyane and his insatiable taste for Miyamoto's precious stones. Replete with film noir style, "Underworld Beauty" is one of Suzuki's best nods to the American gangster genre.

Special Features

  • Director Filmography

Product Details

  • Actors: Michitarô Mizushima, Mari Shiraki, Shinsuke Ashida, Tôru Abe, Hideaki Nitani
  • Directors: Seijun Suzuki
  • Writers: Susumu Saji
  • Producers: Takashi Nishihara
  • Format: Anamorphic, Black & White, Subtitled, NTSC
  • Language: Japanese (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Unrated
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Homevision
  • DVD Release Date: January 20, 2004
  • Run Time: 87 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0000YAEI4
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #190,598 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Underworld Beauty" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
Were it not for the fact that almost the entire cast is Japanese, I would have thought I was watching a lost Sam Fuller classic. This seedy gangster film has top-notch writing, directing, and acting. The print of the film is exceptionally clear, emphasizing the superb lighting of this black-and-white drama. The story of a diamond thief who attempts to make amends to a crippled partner in crime unfolds in classic noir fashion, and there is a refreshingly offbeat take on the femme fatale role. The only flaws are a couple brief inappropriate musical passages and one or two moving shots that exhibit a little shakiness. Highly recommended for film buffs.
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Format: DVD
Seijun Suzuki's reputation is for weirdness, like the rice-sniffing killer of "Branded to Kill," mixed into violent Yakuza thrillers. His directorial style was shaped over a long career, and his influence on modern film directors such as Quentin Tarentino is vast. "Underworld Beauty" ("Ankokugai no Bijo") is a much-earlier film, his seventh to be precise, and, while a more straight-forward film than his surreal style to come, still shines with a spark of something different.

The plot is pure noir goodness, a complicated stewpot of intrigues. Two gangsters comit a daring diamond robbery. One, Mihara, is permanently maimed, one, Miyamoto, goes to jail. Fresh from jail, the Miyamoto wants to donate his share of the diamonds to Mihara, so he can retire peacefully. Their former gang boss, Oyane, thinks that is a pretty bad idea and wants the diamonds for himself. Mihara swallows the diamonds before being killed, and goes to the morgue with a belly full of treasure. Enter his sister Akiko, the titular underworld beauty. Her corrupt artist boyfriend cuts the diamonds from her brother's body, and then attempts a sale to Oyane. Miyamoto intervenes to protect both Akiko and restore the diamonds to her.

The diamonds, of course, are a classic McGuffin, leading the dangerous characters into conflict. Miyamoto is a hard-boiled anti-hero, tough as nails and a cool head in any situation. Akiko is gorgeous, both wild and innocent she is one minute frustrating and the next endearing. The actors for these lead characters are excellent, giving solid performances. Suzuki sets the climax in a sculptor's studio, allowing for body parts and mannequins to obfuscate the action as bullets go flying. (Bullets spat from the single most unrealistic machine gun I have ever seen!
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Format: DVD
I think this film by Seijun Suzuki is up there with his brilliant 'Branded to Kill' and 'Tokyo Drifter.'
What grabs me about this particular film is not its standard 'Yakuza/crime' narrative, but it's visual concept of Tokyo 1950's nightclubs and sexuality.
The film is worth purchasing just for seeing the artist/Gangster reading an English (French) novel at a Yakuza meeting.
Plus extra star for the soundtrack which is wonderful.
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