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Sandanju no Otoko

The Man with a Shotgun
Shottogan no Otoko / The Man with the Hollow-Tip Bullets

USA 1961
produced by
Kaneo Iwai for Nikkatsu
directed by Seijun Suzuki
starring Hideaki Nitani, Izumi Ashikawa, Yuji Kodaka, Yoko Minamida, Akio Tanaka, Eiji Go, Keisuke Noro, Asao Sano, Jun Hamamura, Hiroshi Kono, Toshio Takahara, Takashi Ebata
written by Yoshikazu Ishii, Takeo Matsuura, music by Masayoshi Ikeda

review by
Mike Haberfelner

Ryoji is a drifter who happens to always carry a shotgun with him, one he's perfectly handy with. These days, he happens to arrive on a sawmill run by shady Nishioka, who seems to be in the habit of hiring ruffians and criminals to run the place, and who also owns the local saloon run by his wife to make the money his made off him right back. The locals from the next village are none too pleased with the folks the sawmill attracts, but Nishioka also pays the most taxes by far, so the politicians feel obliged to do his bidding. Nishioka likes Ryoji's attitude because Ryoji's tough, but he's also a very righteous man ...

Then the local sheriff's attacked and almost killed, and when nobody in town wants the job, Ryoji volunteers. But there's also another guy who wants the job, Masa, who might be on the crude and cocky side, but he's almost as tough as Ryoji, and he definitely can tell right from wrong and act according to it. For some reason the two can't see eye to eye so they decide to fight out in a duel who might get the job - but however often they try they're always interrupted ...

Ryoji has a secret motive to become the area's sheriff though, his wife has been raped and killed by a group of ruffians a few years back, and he thinks he has tracked them down to the sawmill - but has no idea about their actual identity. But the things he finds out about the sawmill almost make his personal vendetta pale in comparison, like the fact that Nishioka also owns a secret poppy field in a secret valley next to the sawmill, and he isn't one to plant poppies just because he loves flowers ...

Thing is, that discovery puts Ryoji on the spot even more, as nobody's perfectly happy with him knowing this ...


Of course, purely judging by its story, The Man with a Shotgun is mediocre pulp fiction - and yet, on screen it's a very entertaining and fresh movie, a thriller that has the look and feel of a western (even if it's clearly set in Japan), and it's a movie that really understands to move ahead, pretty much stumbling from one shoot-out, chase and fistfight into the next, all carried by an extremely stylish directorial effort that makes perfect use of its locations, and a bunch of very cool performances.

Definitely worth a look!


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review © by Mike Haberfelner


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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD



Stell Dir vor, Deine Lieblingsseifenoper birgt eine tiefere Wahrheit ...
... und stell Dir vor, der Penner von der U-Bahnstation hat doch recht ...
... und dann triffst Du auch noch die Frau Deiner (feuchten) Träume ...


Und an diesem Tag geht natürlich wieder einmal die Welt unter!!!


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Michael Haberfelner


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