Monday, June 25, 2012

Before Pink There Was Naughty B&W

The first pink film may not have come along until 1962, but before that they were making sexy fare, some of it depicting bondage, as early as 1959. Such is the case with a film called Bloody Sword of the 99th Virgin (or just The 99th Virgin for short -- 九十九本目の生娘). 

The film has Mihara Yoko (三原 葉子) in it. In my research, I kept coming across her name. No wonder. She made a ton of films. Japanese Wikipedia has her filmography. It appears she made her first film in 1952 when she was just 19 years old.

Mihara Yoko bound in one of her later films
She made two films in 1952 and it appears she had been bound in at least one of them. Below is a photo I came across and one of these actresses is supposed to be Mihara Yoko (forget the dude in the middle who ruins the shot).

Would that be Mihara Yoko on the left?
 And here's another one from a few years later, a bit racier this time.

A topless Mihara Yoko
The 99th Virgin was produced by Okura Mitsugu for Shintoho and directed by Magatani Morihei. It was shot in Iwate Prefecture which, coincidentally, is where Mihara was born. Iwate was in the news back in March of 2011. The Great East Japan Earthquake and the tsunami that followed took a huge toll on the prefecture.

Theatrical poster
Apparently, this film was and is quite controversial in Japan. It is an entirely made-up tale of a bunch of country bumpkins who sacrifice a virgin every 10 years. I guess some people didn't like the way it depicted the country folk as a mob of virgin-sacrificing, uncivilized hicks. Think of the film Deliverance and you've got the general idea.

Love the look on the old hag's face
I'm not sure how the theatrical release went. It apparently came out on VHS but VHS is pretty much dead now and I don't think it ever made it to DVD. I suppose the only way to get the film these days would be to find it used on some auction site.

But according to veteran Japan film reviewer Mark Schilling,
...the film has been seldom screened in Japan, and contrary to some speculation, it has never been officially banned.
I seem to recall reading on another website that the film had been banned from TV and VHS/DVD. The key here is probably in the word "officially". I'm assuming this is one of those "soft" bans that, nevertheless, makes the film very hard to come by.

Not sure if they're putting her on or taking her off the torture wheel
As you can see from the above poster and photos, Ms. Mihara was not only chosen to be sacrificed, but it also appears that some pre-sacrifice softening-up was in order courtesy of some sort of torture wheel. 

I gather there was no nudity in this film but the sheer slip Ms. Mihara was wearing didn't leave too much to the imagination. 

Mihara Yoko on the right
Born in 1933, Mihara Yoko is 79 years young as I write this. Her career spanned three decades and she appeared in films, on television and in print.

Cover girl Mihara Yoko
Cheesecake model
She appeared in at least one film with Takakura Ken as well as Toei's 1974 School of the Holy Beast (聖獣学園) in which she played one of the cruel nuns.

School of the Holy Beast
She was also in the 1973 Toei flick Sex and Fury with Ike Reiko, Saotome Rie and Oka Naomi.

Mihara Yoko (left) and Ike Reiko in Sex and Fury
Mihara Yoko was not a bondage model although she did appear bound in some of her films and in other films that featured a large dose of bondage and kinkiness. One wonders if there are some other hidden gems lurking in that expansive filmography of hers.

For instance, she appeared in this movie, Kenpei to Yurei (憲兵と幽霊), the year before she had starred in The 99th Virgin. It was released by Shintoho and the producers are listed as Katsuji Tsuda and Okura Mitsugu.

Kenpei to Yurei, Shintoho, 1958
I will watch any film produced by Okura.

The YouTube video below shows a short scene from the film. 

 Kenpei to Yurei trailer
I'm not sure who the starlet is in the photo below. It appears Ms. Mihara (maybe) played an exotic dancer in this film. Was she also interrogated by the secret police?

Scene from Kenpei to Yurei
Many of the titles of the films Mihara Yoko appeared in arouse the imagination. But there are just too many to go into in one blog post. One thing seems sure: we have probably not heard the last of Mihara Yoko.

Relevant links:

Bullets 'n' Babes
Geocities fansite
Glamour Star
Far East Film
Curse (and the relevant gallery)

Blog support:  1KGqcTFM6kwyUMMQG8zVChxqdKZLJzRTQx

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