by Chris MaGee
I know that there are more than a few fans of the "Female Convict Scorpion" films out there. Actually there are quite a few fans of the series here at the Pow-Wow, so it was with great excitement to see that 72-year-old director Shunya Ito it currently making a new feature film.
Ito was the man behind the first three "Female Convict Scorpion" films (a.k.a "Sasori"), "Female Prisoner #701: Scorpion" and "Female Convict Scorpion Jailhouse 41" both from 1972 and 1973's "Female Prisoner Scorpion: Beast Stable". Later that same year Toei replaced Ito with Yasuharu Hasebe for the last film in the series "Female Convict Scorpion: Grudge Song". That was far from the end of Ito's career though. He went on to make the award-winning and critically acclaimed 1985 film "Hana ichimonme (Gray Sunset)" about a university professor suffering from Alzheimer's Disease as well as numerous documentaries.
This new film, titled "Lost Crime -Senkou" is based on a novel by Shunsuke Nagase and tells the story of a pair of police detectives who go from investigating a murder case to possibly cracking one of Japan's most celebrated cases, the infamous true life robbery of 300 million yen of electronics giant Toshiba's money in December of 1968, a crime that has never been solved. This "300 Million Yen Incident" as it has become known, also formed the basis of Yukinari Hanawa's 2006 film "Hatsukoi (First Love)" that starred Aoi Miyazaki. "Lost Crime -Senkou" stars 25-year-old actor Dai Watanabe as the newbie half of a classic young cop/ old cop scenario. His veteran partner is being played by actor/ director Eiji Okuda.
Barring his documentary work this film will be the first feature film that Sunya Ito has directed since 1998 when his "Pride: The Fateful Moment", about the war crimes trial of general and former Prime Minister of Japan Hideki Tojo, was released. I find it interesting that Ito's replacement, Yasuharu Hasebe made his return to the big screen with the "Aibou (Partners)" spin-off film "Kanshiki: Yonezawa Mamoru no Jikenbo (The Case Files of Mamoru Yonezawa)" before passing away in June at the age of 77. That film was a floip, so here's hoping that Ito fairs better than his old colleague and rival.
"Lost Crime -Senkou" is set for release early next year. Thanks to Tokyograph for the news, and to Eiga.com for the above promotional still.
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