http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/features/ar ... Y16001.htm
80-year-old film returns to light of day
The Yomiuri Shimbun
A classic movie starring a prewar cinema heartthrob was finally restored to its former glory last month.
The silent movie Kurotegumi Sukeroku (Sukeroku of the Black Hand Gang) opened in 1929 with Kazuo Hasegawa, a legend of Japanese cinema, playing the lead under his then screen name, Chojiro Hayashi.
The Shochiku Shimogamo studio made Kurotegumi Sukeroku and more than 100 more "Chojiro" flicks. Many have been lost, however, making this an extremely important find.
The Film Preservation Society, a nonprofit organization involved in restoring old movies, borrowed the film from a private individual in 2007.
The 16mm film was an abridged 16-minute version of the movie that had been reedited for home viewing.
In December--the centennial of Hasegawa's birth--his daughter, actress Kiyo Hasegawa, came forward with the necessary funding and the film was restored onto 35mm film for theater screenings.
Although it is only about one-third the length of the original work, it fully captures the vibrancy of the celebrated actor in his heyday.
According to the society, the restoration cost about 350,000 yen.
"It was moving. It's a wonderful work created through the momentous efforts of every actor and crew member," Kiyo said on seeing the restoration. "It really stands out that my father also took on this great responsibility at the tender age of 20. It's been beautifully restored and I hope many people will watch it."
(Feb. 13, 2009)
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