REVENGE OF THE PEARL QUEEN (onna shinjuo no fukushu) (1956 JAPAN) D: TOSHIO SHIMURA W: JUN SAGARA/ISAO MATSUZAKI/YOSHIHISA SHIMIZU P: KAZUHIRA HOSHINO
Michiko Maeda stars as a company employee whose boyfriend (Ken Utsui) is framed for robbery and murder by corrupt president Susumu Fujita (and two-toned shoe-wearing henchman Tetsuro Tanba). Fujita makes his moves on Maeda during a cruise, but she rejects him and is thrown overboard and left for dead. But she survives and washes up on an island where she must fend off a bunch of horny, lonely fishermen (these scenes apparently inspired by Josef von Sternberg's final 1953 film, THE SAGA OF ANATAHAN). She learns to dive, collects pearls and two years later returns to Tokyo from America as a wealthy "pearl queen" for some corporate revenge. This low-budget b/w release from Shintoho is a bit of a landmark, scenes of Maeda in revealing tattered clothing and swimwear being as close to the reality of Ama (topless female divers, once a thriving community in Japan and Korea, not so much anymore) as the censors would allow at the time (see VIOLATED PARADISE for the real thing). It led to an Ama series, continuing with WOMAN DIVER'S TERROR. But nowadays PEARL QUEEN is a real bore, far more interesting to read about than to watch. With Shigeru Amachi, Utako Mitsuya, Saburo Sawai, Shin Shibata, Hiroshi Hayashi, Shigeru Ogura, Nagamasa Yamada, Rei Ishikawa, Teruo Wakatasuki and Sosuke Kuni.

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