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Label:
Name: ARROW VIDEO
Number: MVDAV060-BR

FEMALE PRISONER SCORPION: THE COMPLETE COLLECTION (8 DISCS) (BLU-RAY)

Starring the iconic and beautiful Meiko Kaji (Lady Snowblood, Stray Cat Rock) in a role that came to define her career, the four-film Female Prisoner Scorpion series charts the vengeance of Nami Matsushima, who assumes the mantle of "Scorpion," becoming an avatar of vengeance and survival, and an unlikely symbol of female resistance in a male-dominated world. Female Prisoner #701: Scorpion introduces Nami, a gullible young woman unjustly imprisoned, who must find a way to escape in order to exact revenge upon the man who betrayed her. The visually avant-garde Female Prisoner Scorpion: Jailhouse 41 sees director Shunya Ito and star Meiko Kaji re-unite as Nami and six other female convicts escape prison once more. The Gothic horror-inspired Beast Stable finds Nami branded public enemy #1 and on the run. She soon finds refuge with a sympathetic prostitute, but runs afoul of a local gang. The final film in the series, #701's Grudge Song (from director Yasuharu Hasebe, Retaliation, Massacre Gun), shows a gentler side of Nami as she falls in with Kudo, an ex-radical suffering from physical and psychological trauma caused by police torture. Spiritual kin to Ms. 45, Coffy and The Bride Wore Black, the Female Prisoner Scorpion is the pinnacle of early 1970s exploitation cinema from Japanese grindhouse studio Toei, and one of the greatest female revenge sagas ever told.

Genre: Cult
Run Time: 353 mins
Number of Discs: 8
Audio: STEREO
Year of Production: 1972
Director: Shunya Ito, Yasuharu Hasebe
Actors: Meiko Kaji, Rie Yokoyama, Yoyoi Watanabe
Language: Japanese

Bonus Materials

Limited Edition Blu-ray collection (3000 copies)
Brand new 2K restorations of all four films in the series presented on High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD
Original mono audio (uncompressed PCM on the Blu-rays) for all films
Optional English subtitles for all films
Double-sided fold out poster of two original artworks
Reversible sleeves for all films featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Ian MacEwan
Booklet featuring an extract from Unchained Melody: The Films of Meiko Kaji, an upcoming book on the star by critic and author Tom Mes, an archive interview with Meiko Kaji, and a brand new interview with Toru Shinohara, creator of the original Female Pri
Newly filmed appreciation by filmmaker Gareth Evans (The Raid)
Archive interview with director Shunya Ito
New interview with assistant director Yutaka Kohira
Theatrical Trailers for all films in the series
Newly filmed appreciation by critic Kier-La Janisse
Japanese cinema critic Jasper Sharp looks over the career of Shunya Ito
New interview with production designer Tadayuki Kuwana
Original Theatrical Trailer
Newly filmed appreciation by critic Kat Ellinger
Archive interview with director Shunya Ito
New visual essay on the career of star and icon Meiko Kaji by critic Tom Mes
Original Theatrical Trailer
Newly filmed appreciation by filmmaker Kazuyoshi Kumakiri (Kichiku: Banquet of the Beasts)
Archive interview with director Yasuharu Hasebe
Japanese cinema critic Jasper Sharp looks over the career of Yasuharu Hasebe
Visual essay on the Scorpion series by critic Tom Mes
Original Theatrical Trailer

  
Reviews and Comments: (1)
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Posted by Mark Turner on August 11, 2017 2:12 AM
I’ll say this over and over again and hope that some get the point. One of the joys of movies on disc is the opportunity to view movies from other countries in the best format possible. Some played at art houses over the years, some at grindhouses and some straight to video here in the US. This rediscovery of some amazing movies by companies trying to restore them to the praise they deserve has led to a boon for movie fans.

Among these is the FEMALE PRISONER SCORPION series of films that came from Japan. Along the lines of the low budget “women in prison” films made on the cheap for US companies, the series is based on a comic of the same name. The success of the first film led to three more in the series and helped the status of star Meiko Kaji after having starred in the Stray Cat Rock series of films. The tale of a woman wrongfully imprisoned seeking revenge in a world of uncaring men carried on through all four films.

In the first, FEMALE PRISONER 701: SCORPION we are told the story of Nami Matsushima (Kaji), a young woman set up by her crooked policeman boyfriend in order to win favor with the local yakuza. Raped and abandoned she tries to kill her boyfriend only to be caught and sentenced to hard time in prison. There she is treated poorly by the guards, raped once more. Fights with other prisoners also take place but she eventually escapes with revenge in mind.

The second film is FEMALE PRISONER SCORPION: JAILHOUSE 41. It opens with Nami in prison, solitary confinement no less, where she is being tortured by the guards and the warden, Goda. During an inspection she is brought out with the rest of the prisoners, attacks Goda and is once more returned to solitary while the rest of the prisoners are sent to a labor camp. He then instructs his guards to rape Nami before sending her to join the rest. She and several other prisoners escape and avoid capture. Each has a chance to tell their story before they police move in to capture them. As they are either captured or killed, a final confrontation between Nami and Goda is set in motion.

Third in the series is FEMALE PRISONER SCORPION: BEAST STABLE. On the run from the end of the last film, Nami takes refuge with a prostitute in a brothel. The lady in charge of the brothel learns who she is as well as discovering she is the ex-lover of the policeman who killed her lover, a member of the yakuza. She lets them know and an eventual battle between the Scorpion and the yakuza who have framed her for a crime is bound to happen.

Last in the series of films is FEMALE PRISONER SCORPION: 701’S GRUDGE SONG. Captured by the police, Nami escapes to find a hiding spot with Kudo, a young man who works in a sex show club. Kudo has a history of problems with the police and that won’t help later. One of the women who works in the club and was trying to seduce him and jealous of Nami turns Kudo in to the police. They eventually let him go and follow him in hopes of catching Nami.

As you can tell from the descriptions the movies here were not high art. And yet there are some amazingly graceful shots and sequences in these films. The story of the woman done wrong in a world where men are all users of women is one that resonates with some. The production values are high for movies made on the cheap. The acting, even when viewed through the haze of subtitles, is well done by all.

Arrow Video has released this box set and done an amazing job. Not only are we presented with the most gorgeous looking editions of these films the extras are astounding. Included are: a double-sided fold out poster of two original artworks; reversible sleeves for all films featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Ian MacEwan; a booklet featuring an extract from Unchained Melody: The Films of Meiko Kaji, an upcoming book on the star by critic and author Tom Mes, an archive interview with Meiko Kaji, and a brand new interview with Toru Shinohara, creator of the original Female Prisoner Scorpion; newly filmed appreciation by filmmaker Gareth Evans (The Raid); an archive interview with director Shunya Ito; a new interview with assistant director Yutaka Kohira; the theatrical trailers for all films in the series; a newly filmed appreciation by critic Kier-La Janisse; Japanese cinema critic Jasper Sharp looks over the career of Shunya Ito; a new interview with production designer Tadayuki Kuwana;
a newly filmed appreciation by critic Kat Ellinger; an archive interview with director Shunya Ito; a new visual essay on the career of star and icon Meiko Kaji by critic Tom Mes; a newly filmed appreciation by filmmaker Kazuyoshi Kumakiri (Kichiku: Banquet of the Beasts); an archive interview with director Yasuharu Hasebe; Japanese cinema critic Jasper Sharp looks over the career of Yasuharu Hasebe;
and a visual essay on the Scorpion series by critic Tom Mes.

This box set was limited to just 3,000 so fans will want to make sure they pick one up before they’re gone. The extras aside the movies are well worth watching and display a style and genre that few have seen before. It is well worth seeking out to enjoy.

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