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This is a comments thread about FSM CD: The Yakuza
 
 Posted:   Sep 3, 2010 - 1:14 PM   
 By:   Jim Phelps   (Member)

The Yakuza is how You Only Live Twice should've been, had they re-written it yet again in 1974. The opening credits are positively Bondian, don't you think?

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 3, 2010 - 1:58 PM   
 By:   Disco Stu   (Member)

There is something so sublimly appealing about listening to this score in the purposeful solitude of one's home on a rainy Saturday afternoon...

Bought it because for the first 17 seconds and last 29 seconds of track 4 "Tokyo return".
There are some other tracks that remind me of the initial "Blade runner" soundtrack (not the true soundtrack but the re-recording that was available in the 80s on vinyl).
The Japanese sounding tracks I can do well without and that singing on the final track.... well the less said about that the better.

But as far as "Tokyo return" is concerned, I agree with sections of the SAE CD advertising text: "For the film's backstory and character relationships, Grusin conjures up an achingly beautiful central melody."

D.S.

 
 Posted:   Sep 3, 2010 - 2:49 PM   
 By:   Jim Phelps   (Member)

Damning with faint praise: a Disco Stu tradition!

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 3, 2010 - 3:00 PM   
 By:   Disco Stu   (Member)

Damning with faint praise: a Disco Stu tradition!

Praising with critical notes. Because anything else would be a lie.

D.S.

 
 Posted:   Sep 5, 2010 - 5:54 AM   
 By:   Jim Phelps   (Member)

Bought it because for the first 17 seconds and last 29 seconds of track 4 "Tokyo return".
There are some other tracks that remind me of the initial "Blade runner" soundtrack (not the true soundtrack but the re-recording that was available in the 80s on vinyl).
The Japanese sounding tracks I can do well without and that singing on the final track.... well the less said about that the better.

But as far as "Tokyo return" is concerned, I agree with sections of the SAE CD advertising text: "For the film's backstory and character relationships, Grusin conjures up an achingly beautiful central melody."

D.S.


Damning with faint praise: a Disco Stu tradition!

Praising with critical notes. Because anything else would be a lie.

D.S.


If you want "truth", listen to the "Japenese sounding tracks" in the context of the film itself. So many film score geeks ignore the music as it was originally conceived and often go into listening as just a stand-alone experience. I find that hearing the music in its original environment improves most previously-unloved cues. smile

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 5, 2010 - 6:23 AM   
 By:   Richard-W   (Member)

The Yakuza is how You Only Live Twice should've been, had they re-written it yet again in 1974. The opening credits are positively Bondian, don't you think?

Hell yes.
Not only Bondian, but better than Bondian, as in Bondian done right.


Richard

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 5, 2010 - 2:11 PM   
 By:   Kev McGann   (Member)

It's weird (well, to me anyway) but this score just never grabs me when I dig it out to play.
It was the disc I chose with my remaining credit from my FSM subscription (when the mag died) and thought I'd love it, since I like most 70's scores and usually enjoy Dave Grusin's music.
It kinda just passed me by on first play. Same with the second play, which made me wonder whether I needed to see the film again, which I've only seen once, many years ago on the telly.
I tend to share similar opinions with Graham Watt and Jim Phelps (certainly concerning Jerry Fielding) which makes it all the more strange that I can't get into this score the way they have.
I sense another listen coming on.

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 6, 2010 - 3:18 AM   
 By:   Graham S. Watt   (Member)

Kev - you really must give this another spin. It took me three or four listens to really appreciate it. All that kind of "static" stuff for the fight scenes - it's not ENTER THE DRAGON - but it's quite hypnotic in context (one case where it really helps to know the movie). Having said that, yeah, maybe the surprisingly low-key approach is disappointing (when the End Titles eventually kick in, it's like coming out of a tunnel), but only at first. I still liken it to something like Fielding's KILLER ELITE which has a lot of material just based around a low pulse of sound with a little ornamentation behind it. It's almost deceptively "boring", but if you let it, it ends up casting its spell.

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 6, 2010 - 3:19 AM   
 By:   Graham S. Watt   (Member)

And, coincidentally Kev - that's the one I chose to finish off my mag subscription too!

 
 Posted:   Sep 6, 2010 - 5:33 AM   
 By:   Jim Phelps   (Member)

maybe the surprisingly low-key approach is disappointing (when the End Titles eventually kick in, it's like coming out of a tunnel), but only at first. I still liken it to something like Fielding's KILLER ELITE which has a lot of material just based around a low pulse of sound with a little ornamentation behind it. It's almost deceptively "boring", but if you let it, it ends up casting its spell.

You're dead-on with the comparison with Jerry's The Killer Elite, Graham (or Kev, or whichever one you are)! I prefer to call Grusin's (and Fielding's) approach "thinking man's" action music! (Now if only I were a thinking man...).

Speaking of action music, I have to wonder how severely decimated the film score ranks would be if there weren't "propulsive action cues" to curse aloud to in exaltation?

BTW, been listening to The Yakuza while reading some Master of Kung-Fu comics--it's positively Kwai Chang Caine to the utmost! cool

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 7, 2010 - 6:21 AM   
 By:   Kev McGann   (Member)

By: Graham S. Watt (Member)
"And, coincidentally Kev - that's the one I chose to finish off my mag subscription too!"
---------------------------------------
Now this is just getting scary! Okay Graham, repeat after me..."My Name Is Graham Watt, Not Kev McGann, My Name Is Graham Watt, Not Kev McGann"
Next you'll be telling me your first bike was a Chopper!! wink

I think I've worked out why I can't engage with this score. It must be my affinity, or lack of, to the film (as Jim and Graham mention above).
I've only seen it once, years ago, in my younger years. It never really stayed with me that much.
Comparatively, I really enjoy his score to 3 DAYS OF THE CONDOR, more because I love the film, as opposed to the quality of the score.
I would usually choose an orchestral, ambient, percussion style score over light pop/jazz any day of the week, but these two examples prove to me that my love of the film CONDOR and my distance to THE YAKUZA are the reason why my usual preferences are the wrong way 'round. I think.

 
 Posted:   Sep 7, 2010 - 6:43 AM   
 By:   Jim Phelps   (Member)

If you don't know which one you are, what chance do the rest of us have??? big grin

As for The Yakuza, perhaps you might better appreciate it after having heard some of Grusin's Assignment: Vienna work. One of the scores--can't remember which at the moment--portends the Yakuza to come. I'm sure you have little or no association with that ill-fated Robert Conrad series, so perhaps if you can enjoy those scores, you and Kev, or you and Graham can enjoy it on that basis.

P.S. We have too many "loose associations." wink

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 7, 2010 - 6:56 AM   
 By:   Kev McGann   (Member)

Well, my listening preferences don't always make sense to me either!
My Omnibus Box should be on it's way to me soon, together with Hunters Are For Killing (I placed my order with Movie Music and they get the box in tomorrow smile)
I look forward to hearing all those older scores.
You're right, I don't remember the Robert Conrad series (I know Graham does, I've seen him mention it before, he must be a bit older than mewink), but I certainly look forward to hearing Grusin's scores when my Box arrives.
Plus, I'll be able to reopen the Hunters thread smile

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 7, 2010 - 9:01 AM   
 By:   Graham S. Watt   (Member)

Kev, I don't remember that old Robert Conrad series at all! I don't think I even mentioned it anywhere before. Perhaps you are confusing me with someone else. And my bus should be in in a few days too!

 
 Posted:   Sep 29, 2010 - 12:26 PM   
 By:   Jim Phelps   (Member)

Nick Redman's Yakuza liner notes offer some food for thought:

"It is widely believed among film historians that the decade of the 1970s was the last great hurrah of american film. Much has been written and spoken about why this is so, and yet, in truth, it is the only the first half of the '70s that is meaningful--roughly the period between 1969-1976. Afterward the tide inevitably turned toward younger subjects for younger audiences, and the innovative, adult-themed--some would say nihilistically inclined--pictures went the way of the Dodo bird."

 
 Posted:   Oct 1, 2010 - 5:44 AM   
 By:   Jim Phelps   (Member)

I got the Yakuza DVD for cheap and watched it late last night. Midnight seemed like the best time to watch such a contemplative film.

The DVD quality itself is magnificent. Colors, as they say, "pop." (and so do some digits!)

Visually, the film is a thing of beauty! Every shot is so colorful and framed so well, as I've come to expect from a Sydney Pollack movie. The shots of Tokyo and its lights were just a joy to see. "Every move a picture", as Buddy Love once said.

Robert Mitchum. He's double-chinned, graying, and every inch the icon of world-weary regret. I'd watch (and have watched) Mitchum in some dreary crud, but The Yakuza is one of his finest works. What is it about actors like Mitchum and William Holden where no matter what time in their careers it was, they just dazzled you? Congrats to director Pollack for getting one helluva performance out of The Man Who Didn't Give a Sh!t.

Takakura Ken: Amazing! Charismatic in as few words as possible. Anyone denied growing up with this guy in your moviegoing life should sue for reparations. I know I'll be filing my own lawsuit. He's fascinating to watch.

Brian Keith: Despite a wretched comb over, Keith remains one of the most underappreciated actors of his time. "Uncle Beel" is a heel in this one.

Richard Jordan: If Richard Jordan is in a movie, then it must be the '70s. This guy was a true chameleon and I wish he were around today. frown

Kishi Keiko: She was wonderefully vulnerable and loyal as Mitchum's lost love. Such a difficult role to play but she's lovely to watch and was just perfect for this role.

James Shigeta: If James Shigeta's in a movie, then it must be the '70s (or late '60s). How greater fame eluded him is a major disgrace.

In my next post, perhaps I'll discuss the music in context with the film. wink

Okay, on with the flailing and listmaking...but I'll be bumping that crud shortly.

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 1, 2010 - 11:16 AM   
 By:   Kev McGann   (Member)

I think I'm gonna have to rent me (or buy cheaply) the DVD. If only to bring me closer to my FSM CD. Thanks for the encouragement Jim smile

 
 Posted:   Oct 1, 2010 - 2:10 PM   
 By:   Steve Johnson   (Member)

I got the Yakuza DVD for cheap and watched it late last night. Midnight seemed like the best time to watch such a contemplative film.

The DVD quality itself is magnificent. Colors, as they say, "pop." (and so do some digits!)

Visually, the film is a thing of beauty! Every shot is so colorful and framed so well, as I've come to expect from a Sydney Pollack movie. The shots of Tokyo and its lights were just a joy to see. "Every move a picture", as Buddy Love once said.

Robert Mitchum. He's double-chinned, graying, and every inch the icon of world-weary regret. I'd watch (and have watched) Mitchum in some dreary crud, but The Yakuza is one of his finest works. What is it about actors like Mitchum and William Holden where no matter what time in their careers it was, they just dazzled you? Congrats to director Pollack for getting one helluva performance out of The Man Who Didn't Give a Sh!t.

Takakura Ken: Amazing! Charismatic in as few words as possible. Anyone denied growing up with this guy in your moviegoing life should sue for reparations. I know I'll be filing my own lawsuit. He's fascinating to watch.

Brian Keith: Despite a wretched comb over, Keith remains one of the most underappreciated actors of his time. "Uncle Beel" is a heel in this one.

Richard Jordan: If Richard Jordan is in a movie, then it must be the '70s. This guy was a true chameleon and I wish he were around today. frown

Kishi Keiko: She was wonderefully vulnerable and loyal as Mitchum's lost love. Such a difficult role to play but she's lovely to watch and was just perfect for this role.

James Shigeta: If James Shigeta's in a movie, then it must be the '70s (or late '60s). How greater fame eluded him is a major disgrace.

In my next post, perhaps I'll discuss the music in context with the film. wink

Okay, on with the flailing and listmaking...but I'll be bumping that crud shortly.


Actually, James Shigeta was in one late 80's movie, a little thing called DIE HARD. big grin

I need to check out the dvd of THE YAKUZA. I liked the movie when it was released.

 
 Posted:   Oct 3, 2010 - 5:07 AM   
 By:   Jim Phelps   (Member)

I was smugly satisfied when The Yakuza's director, Sydney Pollack, referred to Takakura Ken as "a Japanese Steve McQueen", because that's how I described his onscreen presence. I would have been all the more gratified had I had the courage to include that bit of over-the-top hyperbole in my previous post. Oh well.

Pollack provides an informative commentary track and it was interesting when he discussed his working relationship with the film's cinematographer, Okazaki Kozo, who spoke no english. Kozo did a splendid job here.

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 3, 2010 - 11:57 AM   
 By:   Vermithrax Pejorative   (Member)

Jim, you deserve some kind of award for keeping the threads about Jerry Fielding, Dave Grusin and 70's film scores alive. Don't you let go dude! wink

 
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