Thursday, March 24, 2011

Kill Bill and Miltonic Allusion: Tokyo Drifter

Tarantino studies 101. First lesson. Tarantino allusion are like Milton's allusions: they have a point. And the point of an artist is always the same. To be the best.

A guy is escaping through like the bowels of this building that is a club. Part of the ceiling above him is glass -- the glass of the club where you can see people dancing. You see the soles of their shoes. Here is the trailer:

Thurman walks toward Liu in the dance club and there is a shot of her shoes from the bottom.

Tokyo Drifter is about a yakuza gang that disbands. The other side tries to hire our guy but he refuses, and lives the life of a wanderer. Assassins get involved, our man's former boss to whom he has absolute loyalty betrays him, more assassins, our guy kills everybody, and lives the life of a wanderer, ditching even his girlfriend.

In the clip above our man is escaping the a club where he was held captive.

Tokyo Drifter is a fantastically stylish movie, wacky 60s pop art style. Looks like this, often:

One of the stylish points is that the the club our man is at, Japanese obviously, has a see through floor not unlike the floor of the Japanese club in Kill Bill.

There is even a team of sword-fighters running around a place that looks a lot like The House of the Blue Leaves, but there seem to often be spaces like that in Japanese movies. The abstract use of color is a bit like the Highlander-SamuraiFiction thing in Kill Bill, but not really. At one point our guy goes into a Cowboy style saloon, so you could draw another connection to Kill Bill which also features Japanese swords and Cowboy stuff, but it does not seem crazy significant. Also modern music and sword fights I guess.

Modern music and a bunch of sword fighters in a space that looks similar to the House of the Blue Leaves.

The connections are not super strong, but there you go. I know the director is a favorite of Tarantino's, but I don't have much specific to say. I would love to say something about the linkage between Tokyo Drifter and Alfred Hitchcock's The Lodger but I don't really have anything. They can't all be winners.


Matthew J. Brady said...

Doesnt the main character in Tokyo Drifter also regularly whistle the movie's theme song? That's kind of like Darryl Hannah whistling the theme to whatever that one movie was.

Geoff Klock said...

He does. And it is like that. I actually got confused and was convinced at one point that the actual tune he is whistling is IN Kill Bill somewhere, but alas, it was not, though a similar one plays at the end of Vol 1.