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Film / Dragnet Girl

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A gun in an Ozu movie?

Dragnet Girl is a 1933 film from Japan directed by Yasujiro Ozu.

Tomiko is a typist in an office. She's the loyal girlfriend of a low-level gangster named Joji, a former boxer who for some unspecified reason left boxing behind for a life of crime and seems regretful about it. Joji wants to rob Tomiko's boss, but she dismisses this idea as suspicion would lead right back to her.

Joji is approached by Hiroshi, a student in his late teens. Hiroshi doesn't want to lead the respectable life, instead applying for a spot in Joji's gang. Joji is willing enough, until Hiroshi's sister Kazuko intervenes, determined to stop her little brother from a life of crime. Joji is attracted to Kazuko, the demure Yamato Nadeshiko who is everything his brassy girlfriend Tomiko isn't. Tomiko for her part is very upset by this and gets very jealous.



  • Ambiguously Bi: The most surprising thing about this movie made in Japan in 1933. Tomiko lures Kazuko to a rendezvous and pulls a gun on her, much to Kazuko's shock. But then Tomiko puts the gun away. The next shot shows only their legs, but clearly Tomiko has come up right to Kazuko as their toes touch. The shot after that shows an open-mouthed Kazuko holding her hand to her cheek as if Tomiko kissed her, as Tomiko pulls away. When Joji and Tomiko are discussing Kazuko later, Tomiko says "I've fallen for her too."
  • As You Know: Used to establish the identity of Okazaki, the vaguely slimy guy who comes on to Tomiko in the office.
    Okazaki: Where is my dad?
    Random guy: The president is not in yet.
  • Be a Whore to Get Your Man: Inverted. Tomiko the brassy girlfriend actually starts acting more demure and feminine in order to give Joji, who is falling for Kazuko, what he wants.
    Tomiko: I want to be nice like Kazuko.
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  • Bittersweet Ending: Tomiko takes their resolve to go straight a little too much to heart, and tells Joji that they have to turn themselves in. Joji refuses, and starts to dash away, so she shoots him—in the leg. They embrace as the cops catch up, and there's hope that they'll make a life together after they get out of jail.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: Yasujiro Ozu is most famous for his post-war movies, quiet dramas about marriage and family relationships, in which the camera almost never moves while people have calm but intense discussions. So this movie, a gangster drama in which a low-level Mook and his girlfriend rob an office, is a lot different. This film also contains what is apparently the only gunshot in the entire Ozu canon.
  • Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: Big sister Kazuko is the gentle, nurturing type who makes dinner for her brother and wishes he'd come home in a timely manner so they could talk. Hiroshi is an aspiring juvenile delinquent who borrows money from his sister to play dice.
  • Gratuitous English: Oddly, and maybe in another attempt to evoke American gangster films, all the signage at the boxing club and the pool hall is in English.
  • High-Class Gloves: Part of Tomiko's outfit when she arrives at the boxing club rather overdressed.
    Joji: You think this place is an opera?
  • Light Feminine and Dark Feminine: Joji's two love interests, Tokiko and Kazuko. His girlfriend Tokiko wears cocktail dresses and goes dancing and clearly puts out and is not shy about wielding a gun. Joji finds himself increasingly drawn to Kazuko, who is gentle and nurturing and always dresses in a kimono.
  • One Last Job: Hiroshi the moron steals from his sister's register (she works at a record player dealership) and gambles the money away. Joji and Tomiko, who have previously resolved to go straight, resolve to pull "one last job" to save Hiroshi and Kazuko. It goes about as well as One Last Jobs usually go, although they do succeed in getting the money to Hiroshi to save his sister from getting fired.
  • Sexy Backless Outfit: How Tokiko dresses for maximum Fanservice during a night out.
  • Shout-Out: Posters for The Champ and All Quiet on the Western Front are visible. Ozu seems to be trying as hard as he can to evoke the mood of an American gangster film.
  • Silence Is Golden: A silent film. Silent movies hung on for longer in Asia; Ozu didn't direct a talkie until 1936.
  • Yakuza: Joji is a pretty low-level gangster, although Hiroshi is still an admirer.
  • Yamato Nadeshiko: Kazuko is demure and dresses in a kimono and wants her little brother to straighten out and fly right. She's deliberately contrasted with the Westernized, sexually aggressive Tokiko.