If you’ve not seen this, DO!
I have a new favourite caper movie thanks to The Cultural Gutter’s Carol: Black Lizard (黒蜥蜴 Kurotokage) from 1962. Based on the novel by popular 30s mystery novelist Edogawa Rampo (AKA Taro Irai) the book was adapted for the stage by no less than Yukio Mishima himself — who appears in the 1968 film of the novel (see the fantastic write up at Die Danger Die Die Kill!) but the first versions directed by Umetsugu Inoue, who also directed films for the Shaw Brothers.
Machiko Kyo (best known from Rashomon) plays the titular character, a criminal mastermind and master (mistress?) of disguise who’s intent on kidnapping gem heiress Sanae right from under her father’s eye. He’s hired self-proclaimed ‘best detective in Japan, Kogoro Akechi (Minoru Oki). Sounds pretty pedestrian, right? NO. Singing and dancing and cross-dressing and romance happen AND THEN MORE. Some of the twists you’ll guess…
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