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Film / A Straightforward Boy

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A Straightforward Boy is a 1929 short film directed by Yasujiro Ozu.

The simple plot (an adaptation of O. Henry's The Ransom of Red Chief) tells of a kidnapper who lures a young boy away. The idea, as usual with kidnappers, is to hold the boy for ransom and collect a nice sum of money. But the boy proves so irritating that soon the kidnappers decide to send him back.

Reportedly this film was originally 38 minutes long, but the versions rediscovered in the 21st century range from 14 to 19 minutes. One of the oldest Japanese films to survive at any length, since almost all of early Japanese cinema is lost.


  • Bratty Half-Pint: The boy throws a tantrum in front of a toy store, forcing the younger kidnapper to buy him an armload of toys. He also has a habit of shooting a water pistol in the older kidnapper's face, as well as suction cup arrows that stick on the older kidnapper's head.
  • Off-into-the-Distance Ending: The younger kidnapper finally manages to dump the boy off back in his neighborhood. The boy shows his buddies all the toys the kidnapper bought him. The film ends with all the boys chasing after the kidnapper, who runs away in terror.
  • Oh, Crap!: The younger kidnapper, when the boy yanks the fake mustache off him on a park bench, in close proximity to a policeman. And the younger kidnapper again, when he's finally gotten rid of the boy only for the boy to say "Goodbye Mister Kidnapper Man!" right in front of another policeman.
  • Pity the Kidnapper: Two kidnappers stuck with an infernally irritating boy who shoots toy arrows and water guns at them.