Giants and Toys

Discuss DVDs and Blu-rays released from Arrow and the films on them.
Post Reply
Message
Author
User avatar
DarkImbecile
Ask me about my visible cat breasts
Joined: Mon Dec 09, 2013 6:24 pm
Location: Albuquerque, NM

Giants and Toys

#1 Post by DarkImbecile » Fri Feb 26, 2021 12:15 pm

Image

Giants and Toys is a sharp and snappy corporate satire revolving around the ruthless machinations of a group of admen working in the confectionary industry.

As a new recruit to the marketing department of World Caramel, fresh-faced graduate Nishi (Hiroshi Kawaguchi) is eager to impress his ambitious and hard-nosed boss Goda (Black Test Car’s Hideo Takamatsu), even if it strains his relationships with his college friend Yokoyama (Koichi Fujiyama) and budding love interest Masami (Michiko Ono), who work at the rival companies of Giant and Apollo. With World’s lead over its competitors slipping badly, the two spot a chance to get back in the race in the shape of the pretty but unsophisticated 18-year-old, Kyoko (Hitomi Nozoe). Goda and Nishi get to work polishing this rough diamond as their new campaign girl, but as the three rival confectionary companies pitch themselves into an all-out advertising war that spills out onto the streets of Tokyo as it escalates to ludicrous extremes, Kyoko’s newfound fame starts going to her head.

Making its worldwide Blu-ray debut, this lurid adaptation of the award-winning 1957 novel by Ken Kaiko is considered a landmark in Japanese film history and a key work by Yasuzo Masumura (Blind Beast, Red Angel), one of the country’s most highly acclaimed directors of his generation. Its absurdist and acidly cynical take on the excesses of the media and advertising worlds recalls the work of Frank Tashlin (Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?), as it presents a garish vision of a bold new postwar Japan where traditional company values come head-to-head with American-style consumer capitalism.

SPECIAL EDITION CONTENTS
  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
  • Original uncompressed Japanese mono audio
  • Optional English subtitles
  • Brand new audio commentary by Japanese cinema scholar Irene González-López
  • Newly filmed introduction by Japanese cinema expert Tony Rayns
  • In the Realm of the Publicists, a brand new visual essay by Asian cinema scholar Earl Jackson
  • Original Trailer
  • Image Gallery
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Tony Stella
    FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collectors' booklet featuring new writing by Michael Raine

Glowingwabbit
Joined: Wed May 01, 2013 1:27 pm

Re: Giants and Toys

#2 Post by Glowingwabbit » Fri Feb 26, 2021 12:27 pm

I'm surprised they didn't get Jonathan Rosenbaum again for an essay or special feature since he loves this one a lot more, but the extras look great. Also good that they mention Frank Tashlin in the write up as his style is a perfect reference point for this film. I just hope the colors look good.

I assume if they do more titles it will be from the other Fantoma DVDs: Blind Beast, Manji, Red Angel

User avatar
Randall Maysin
Joined: Tue Apr 02, 2013 12:26 pm

Re: Giants and Toys

#3 Post by Randall Maysin » Fri Feb 26, 2021 3:03 pm

That is some cover! I love it! Is it an original poster (its actually hard to tell..)? Also, nice-sounding extras, don't get me wrong, but why is it that the pool of experts on Japanese film that i have seen appear on DVD and bluray bonus material who are actually Japanese consists of, at most, two individuals?

User avatar
Red Screamer
Joined: Tue Jul 16, 2013 12:34 pm
Location: Tativille, IA

Re: Giants and Toys

#4 Post by Red Screamer » Fri Feb 26, 2021 3:24 pm

Nice. I saw this for our 50s project last year and while it didn't work for me 100%, it's a really interesting film which shows a side of the era that has only become more relevant since. The widescreen cinematography should look great on blu.

User avatar
zedz
Joined: Sun Nov 07, 2004 7:24 pm

Re: Giants and Toys

#5 Post by zedz » Sun May 16, 2021 6:12 pm

This is a great film, of course, but it's also a great package.

I was especially impressed with Irene González-López's commentary, an academic exploration of the film and its contexts that was ferociously well-researched and fat-free. More please, Arrow!

User avatar
The Elegant Dandy Fop
Joined: Thu Dec 09, 2004 3:25 am
Location: Los Angeles, CA

Re: Giants and Toys

#6 Post by The Elegant Dandy Fop » Mon May 17, 2021 3:05 pm

Pre-ordered this shortly after it was announced as this maybe my personal favorite Masamura film (with Blind Beast a close second).

I came mostly to second zedz's appreciation for the commentary. I was originally let down by the lack of a Johnathan Rosenbaum intro (I know he's been having health issues, thus his DVD article missing in this season's Cinemascope) and had never heard of Irene Gonzales-Lopez before this release, but the commentary she contributes maybe the best commentary I've heard this year. Concise, filled with detail and knowledge about Masamura, the cast, and Japanese cinema of the late-50s. Later in the week, I listened to the new Battle Royale commentary where Jasper Sharp and Tom Mes just reminisce about the Japanese films of the early-2000s with no great insight or thoughts and it just reminded me just how good this commentary was. One of the greatest Japanese films of the 50s with great features to compliment. Even these Arrow packages with a couple of special features prove to be very valuable.

Orlac
Joined: Tue Apr 14, 2009 4:29 am

Re: Giants and Toys

#7 Post by Orlac » Mon May 17, 2021 5:44 pm

It's a marevellous film, one of my top 10 Japanese titles.

User avatar
Michael Kerpan
Spelling Bee Champeen
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 1:20 pm
Location: New England
Contact:

Re: Giants and Toys

#8 Post by Michael Kerpan » Fri May 28, 2021 1:49 pm

Re-watched this for the first time in ages -- thanks to the new bluray. Just as marvelous as I remembered. I definitely like Masumura best when he lets his actors show their stuff (rather than seeming to "smother" them as he did in Black Test Car").

User avatar
therewillbeblus
Joined: Tue Dec 22, 2015 3:40 pm

Re: Giants and Toys

#9 Post by therewillbeblus » Fri May 28, 2021 2:11 pm

Michael, we are having eerily similar viewing patterns, as I just watched this last night for the first time. It was a thoroughly engaging film but I didn't detect the vast differences you do in terms of Masumura's treatment of his actors, outside of the clear intents of the respective films. Of course this is a more comically-biting satire compared to Black Test Car's oily dark one, and so the performances in Giants and Toys are noticeably more colorful, but (at least in my opinion) not because the actors are given more flexibility vs. being smothered as an arbitrary directorial choice, but because the material calls for buoyant, theatrical personalities while Black Test Car called for closed-off de-personalized, complacent sheeple. I didn't feel like I really got to 'know' these characters, or that they were particularly "well-developed," to use your critique from the Black Test Car thread, but since this film is engaging in satirical exposure through bombastic measures, we're naturally going to get a necessary emphasis on actors "showing their stuff" in loud parody. Conversely, Black Test Car's satirical exposure was in self-reflexively eliminating the value of identity just as the systems -and by extension the characters- do, so the actors didn't feel smothered so much as directed towards being rigid, fixed, and oblivious to emotional cues. I'm not sure that's showing us 'less' stuff (outside of limiting the volume or range of the performances in tangible terms out of thematic need), or less difficult to pull off in acting or directing, as it forces restriction with attentive precision and in its own way shows us just as much "stuff"- it's just that that "stuff" is more unsettlingly hollow and less distractingly fun.

User avatar
Michael Kerpan
Spelling Bee Champeen
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 1:20 pm
Location: New England
Contact:

Re: Giants and Toys

#10 Post by Michael Kerpan » Fri May 28, 2021 3:06 pm

TWBB -- Black Report was pretty serious in tone too, but the actors were allowed to show more range. I understand that there may have been a reason for the constriction displayed in the acting in Black Test Car -- and even a conceptually good reason. But I guess I demand a certain amount of visceral enjoyment from movies -- and Test Car denied me that. I also felt that the cinematography was (quite often) unusually drab for Masumura in Test Car -- and I assume it was for the same reason the acting was the way it was.

I'm done viewing my recent acquisitions, so our viewing convergence probably goes into abeyance for now. Pursuing greater familiarity with interesting anime of the past couple of decades continues to take up most of my viewing time these days....

User avatar
L.A.
Joined: Thu May 28, 2009 7:33 am
Location: Helsinki, Finland

Re: Giants and Toys

#11 Post by L.A. » Tue Jun 08, 2021 4:27 pm

Had a sensational double bill by the way: The Law (1959) and after that G&T (which was my first ever Masumura) and the old Fantoma DVD. :D

I really, really enjoyed G&T. While watching, at the same time was thinking of Tokyo Drifter (1966). Maybe because both films have cool opening themes and Hiroshi Kawaguchi resembled a tiny bit like Tetsuya Watari.

As to Masumura, I want to see more from this director. Welcome to my collection.

Post Reply