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Recently seen movies #82

August 28, 2008

Delinquent Girl Boss: Worthless to Confess (Japan, 1971) – 4/5

The final and best film in the series. Just like the previous three, it opens with a reform school intro. Rika and the girls are watching Abashiri Prison and cheering for Ken Takakura (this was a cleaver reference as most of the Delinquent Girl Boss films featured a heroic male character heavily influenced by Takakura). One year later they are all out but of course soon run into each other by chance. Rika finds work from a car repair shop run by Murakami (Junzaburo Ban). His daughter (Yumiko Katayama making her debut in the series) is in trouble with a yakuza gang lead by Nobuo Kaneko.

Mari, played by Yukie Kagawa, is back after one film break. Kagawa appears in all four films, but she played a different character in Ballad of Yokohama Hoods. Here her character is a poor wife, forced to work as a cheap nude model to make a living. She later finds better work from a hostess club thanks to her friends. The club scenes introduce us to even more familiar actors; Masumi Tachibana as a hostess and Tonpei Hidari, once again in comedy mode, as her boyfriend. The gang is finally completed when the Yôko Ichiji makes a rather random appearance and hooks up with rest of the girls.

Worthless to Confess doesn’t differ greatly from the other films in the series, but here the elements works to the fullest. The music is great, often tightly attached to club scenes presenting some charming 70’s fashion, and the storyline is probably the best in the series. Characters are good and especially the scenes between Oshida and Tsunehiko Watase (this time playing a slightly more rough edged character) have spark. Yumiko Katayama is a nice addition to the team, even if one of the motives behind her casting may have been that she was willing to provide the series with some extra nudity.

The film ends with a grande finale that should please any genre fan. The action, although not gory, is nicely choreographed and well captured on film. Some of the fighting is shot through a glass floor, a trick made famous by Seijun Suzuki in the late 60’s. But even better than the big sword fight is the preceding scene that builds up the tension. There is one weakness though, and admittedly a notable one. Another film in the series already featured a very similar ending before. Here, however, Yamaguchi hadles it so well that he’s actually capable of getting away with it.

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