This film is all about the war over caramel sales, with the hunt for a new female mascot to get the public to keep buying candy. One company, World, hires a working class girl with bad teeth, dresses her up in a spacesuit and hopes to win the battle. She ends up becoming a popular idol singer and dancer before she leaves the candy world behind. Meanwhile, the ad man who discovered her spits up blood and makes his assistant sleep with other company’s advertising ladies. Anything goes, because there is a smaller and smaller share left after the market is increasingly dominated by imported U.S. candy.
You know, I’ve worked in advertising my entire life and this movie really feels like something I’ve lived through. This movie’s maverick director Yasuzô Masumura bucked the norm of Japanese society and made films that promoted the value of the individual. He was also the first Japanese filmmaker to study at Italy’s Centro Sperimentale Di Cinematografia, which led him to say, “In Japanese society, which is essentially regimented, freedom and the individual do not exist. The theme of Japanese film is the emotions of the Japanese people, who have no choice but to live according to the norms of that society. After experiencing Europe for two years, I wanted to portray the type of beautifully vital, strong people I came to know there.”
In case you thought all that Daiei Film made was Gamera, Zatoichi and Yokai Monsters, remember that this film — and Jokyo, Rashomon and Ugetsu were all made at this studio.
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You can also get this on blu ray from Arrow. That release features trailers and new audio commentary by Japanese cinema scholar Irene González-López, a newly filmed introduction by Japanese cinema expert Tony Rayns and a visual essay by Asian cinema scholar Earl Jackson.