Warped Ones, The (1960): Japanese Koreyoshi Kurahar’s Jazzy Tale of Juvenile Delinquent

Released in the U.S. in 1963 as a sexploitation film, The Warped Ones, has never received the critical attention that it deserves. 

The Warped Ones
A close-up of a man screaming and another man and woman obscured by text. A medium shot of a woman casually looking over her shoulder is overlaid.

Theatrical poster

The movie stars Tamio Kawachi, Eiji Go, Yuko Chishiro and Noriko Matsumoto. It was produced and distributed by the Nikkatsu Company.

Driven by its jazz score, Koreyoshi Kurahar’s tale of a juvenile named Akira (Tamio Kawachi), a criminal and jazz aficionado, and his prostitute girlfriend Yuki (Yuko Chishiro) are arrested when they are spotted fleecing foreigners in a jazz club by a reporter named Kashiwagi (Hiroyuki Nagato).

In jail, Akira meets Masaru (Eiji Go) and on their release they and Yuki resume criminal activities. They spot Kashiwagi and his artist fiancée, Fumiko (Noriko Matsumoto), hit him with a stolen car and kidnap her. In a remote beach, Akira rapes her while Masaru and Yuki fornicate in the ocean.

Soon after, the three rent an apartment with money earned from fencing the stolen car. Masaru and Yuki start a family, while he joins a yakuza gang, to the derision of Akira. Fumiko tracks Akira down and informs him that she is pregnant. Kashiwagi has become distant and haughty and she pleads with Akira for help. Akira arranges for Yuki to seduce Kashiwagi so that the couple might again be on equal terms. Masaru is killed by a rival yakuza. Yuki discovers that she too is pregnant but without Masaru’s support she resolves to get an abortion and resume her prostitution career.

Akira and Yuki meet Kashiwagi and Fumiko by chance at an abortion clinic where Akira reveals that each woman was impregnated by the other man

The movie’s commercial success in Japan led to a sequel, “Black Sun” (1964), featuring many of the same cast, crew and characters.

In its focus on a misunderstood hoodlum, the film is sometimes compared by critics with the French “Breathless” (1960), starring Belmondo, and the American “Rebel Without a Cause” (1955), with Jimmy Dean.

Credits:

Directed by Koreyoshi Kurahara

Produced by Takeshi Yamamoto

Written byNobuo Yamada
Music by Toshiro Mayuzumi

Cinematography (b/w): Yoshio Mamiya

Edited by Akira Suzuki

Distributed by Nikkatsu
Release date: September 3, 1960
Running time: 76 minutes

Note:

TCM showed the movie on June 18, 2020.