Voice Without a Shadow(1958) - Seijun Suzuki
I think there is an impression that Seijun Suzuki didn’t really come into his own until somewhere around Tokyo Drifter, and that his early work consists of mainly low-budget gun-for-hire crime flicks. Which is somewhat true, but even early in his career, Suzuki can’t help himself from inserting stylish camera movement and impressionism into everything he does. More so, Voice Without a Shadow distinguishes itself from your typical Nikkatsu gangster movie with an interesting premise the that feels like a spiritual precursor to Antonioni’s Blow-Up. In Voice without a Shadow, a former telephone operator who heard the voice of a murder suspect is tormented by one of her husband’s friends who sounds suspiciously like the murderer. Admittedly, the cleverness of this premise is basically tossed off halfway through the movie in favor of a more straightforward police procedural, but it adds a distinct flavor to something that could be forgettable or disposable. This is a somewhat qualified recommendation, there are probably similar movies that are better, but if you love Noir or you’ve already seen Suzuki’s more well-known films you should check this one out as well.
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