Eikichi, a nightclub owner and former boxer with unrealized dreams of being a prizefighter, picks up a talented but wildly undisciplined amateur fighter (Yujiro Ishihara) and decides to mold him into a champion. When a beautiful, destitute ballerina also comes under Eikichi's tutelage, however, romantic entanglements and jealousies threaten to undo his vicarious triumph in the ring. A box office success upon release, The Winner proved to Inoue's satisfaction that Ishihara could carry a film (though his studio bosses needed more convincing). It also established the action-with-musical-interludes template for dozens of Nikkatsu films to come.
1957, 98 min., DCP, color, in Japanese with English subtitles. Directed by Umetsugu Inoue. With Yujiro Ishihara, Mie Kitahara, Yoko Minamida, Tatsuya Mihashi.
Venue: Japan Society
333 E. 47th St. Map
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