Thursday, March 22, 2012

Audubon Films and Nikkatsu

US release of the Japanese film Zoku Akutokui: Joi-hen
Continuing on from the previous post...

Synapse Films licensed Madame O  from Radley Metzger's Audubon Films in New York City. Metzger, who should be about 83 years old now, made a business out of tracking down provocative and prurient mainly European films and releasing them in the US. Internet Movie Database calls him "One of the pioneers of...American adult cinema..."

He also directed his own films including The Image (aka The Punishment of Anne), an SM flick from 1975.

In addition to Madame O, Audubon Films also obtained the rights to at least one other Japanese film, The Warped Ones (aka The Weird Lovemakers; aka Season of Heat; aka Kyonetsu no Kisetsu).

Theatrical poster, Kyonetsu no Kisetsu
While Madame O was released in Japan in 1967 by Nippon Cinema and a dubbed version had a theatrical release in the US in 1970, The Warped Ones came out in Japan in 1960 and was a Nikkatsu film. Audubon released it to theaters in the US in 1963.

Kyonetsu no Kisetsu in Japan
I haven't seen The Warped Ones but there is a trailer on Daily Motion and a review at Midnight Eye. YouTube also has a couple of scenes.

According to Wikipedia, it was billed as "sexploitation" in the West. Further, in their Naomi Tani entry, they say that Nikkatsu first got into the "pink" genre in 1968 with Tokyo Bathhouse. Perhaps so, but with The Warped Ones, it appears they were not averse to pushing the sex and violence envelope as early as 1960.

I used quotes up there because, as far as I know, the "pink" designation belongs to small, independent production companies. Nikkatsu was a major studio.

Tani Naomi
As mentioned in the previous post, Tani also appeared in the 1967 prequel to Madame O, a film called Vicious Doctor, aka Akutokui. One source commenting on this film believes it has been lost. Unlike Madame O, it was not released in the US.

It appears that Tani first appeared on celluloid in the US in 1970 so this was probably the first time most folks stateside had got a glimpse of her. But it wasn't her debut to a US audience. She had appeared in a feature called "Girls of the Orient" in Playboy's December 1968 issue. I have looked high and low for these photos but have come up empty handed.

However, some time in the 1970s I had in my possession a copy of a magazine called Adam Film World (at least I think that was the one) and there were photos of a Japanese woman naked and bound and the accompanying text described her as quite the sensation in Japan.

This was long before I had ever heard of Tani Naomi and I don't recall the name in the magazine article but I have always thought it was probably her and the vague recollection I have of the photos seems to support this. 

Given the time frame and the nature of the text, I really don't think it could have been anyone else.

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