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Greed in Broad Daylight (1961)
Hakuchu No Buraikan
Tetsuro TANBA
Naoko KUBA
Harumi SONE
Isaac Sackson
82 mins.

Kinji Fukasaku wasn't always ahead of the times. Even though he placed himself outside the mainstream from the start of his career by making contemporary crime films, rather than Toei's trademark period movies, this very early directorial outing is a throwback to American crime dramas of the fifties such as Stanley Kubrick's The Killing (1956) and the Frank Sinatra starrer Suddenly (1954 - Lewis Allen)

A group of robbers from different ethnic backgrounds - Japanese, American, Korean and one half black/half Japanese - plan a raid on an armoured transport, but from the start it becomes clear that this disparate team is not founded on mutual trust. When the robbery pays off, greed-induced in-fighting inevitably ensues, leading to a violent pay-off.

For a film which focuses more on the interpersonal tensions than the plotting of the robbery, the direction of the actors leaves a lot to be desired. The Japanese actors make a decent impression, particularly Tanba, known internationally through his role as "Tiger" Tanaka in James Bond's Japanese outing You Only Live Twice (1967 - Lewis Gilbert), but the Americans in the cast deliver universally poor cue-card performances. This is probably less to do with inexperience and more with Fukasaku's inability to speak English, which despite having helmed more than a few projects with international cast (including Tora! Tora! Tora! (1970) and Virus / Fukkatsu No Hi (1980), which both featured a good number of American actors) doesn't appear to have improved much over the decades. Technically the direction is able enough, but so much in this film revolves around the actors and their performances, that the film never recovers from its thespian poverty.

Greed in Broad Daylight is certainly not without interest within the framework of Fukasaku's career, but judged on its own merits, the film sadly is little more than an endearing failure.

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