What It’s About: Yakuza hit man Goro Hanada (Jo Shishido) is rated the No. 3 Killer in Japan. When a mysterious, death obsessed woman (Anne Mari) hires him, his formerly comfortable (if dangerous) life begins to unravel and the legendary No. 1 Killer (Koji Nanbara) begins hunting him…
Why Watch it Today?: Today’s movie was the catalyst that ended director Seijun Suzuki’s eccentric career as a director of arty potboilers for Nikkatsu Studios. Nikkatsu president Kyusaku Hori disliked Branded to Kill so much that he fired Suzuki. Suzuki brought Nikkatsu to court for breach of contract today in 1968, a case he eventually won at a cost: Suzuki was black listed and wouldn’t make another film until 1977.
Where to Get It: Hulu Plus and Vudu; Netflix (DVD)
Other Choices: Seijun Suzuki is one of my favorite directors, and his films for Nikkatsu are a joy to watch. Why not try Detective Bureau 2-3: Go to Hell Bastards or The Fighting Elegy?