I Am Waiting 俺は待ってるぜ “Ore wa matteru ze” (1957) is the first film by director Koreyoshi Kurahara 蔵原惟繕. It is also an early work for stars Yujiro Ishihara 石原 裕次郎 and Mie Kitahara 北原三枝, who had paired memorably in Crazed Fruit 狂った果実 in 1956. In that “Sun Tribe 太陽族” (taiyozoku) classic, Ishihara is convincing as a young man hardly able to control his raging hormones. Kitahara is convincing as a young woman (semi) innocently unaware of the havoc she causes on the men around her. Here they are in Crazed Fruit:
Just a year later, Ishihara and Kitahara are remarkably more mature in I am waiting. This reflects the script, but may also be explained by the growing relationship between the two charismatic actors. The pair were married in 1960 until Ishihara’s death in 1987. Here they are in I am waiting:
Much of I am waiting takes place in a shack on the Yokohama waterfront, close to the Red Brick Warehouse 横浜赤レンガ倉庫 Akarenga soko, which has long since lost its original function and now serves as a popular shopping and dining attraction (map), as seen below. (The black & white photo below is from the aftermath of the Great Kanto Earthquake 関東大震災 of 1923).
Similarly, the railroad tracks that moved cargo across this part of the waterfront now are used by pedestrians as they stroll from Sakuragicho Station to the Red Brick Warehouse (map).
Evidence of the train can also be seen in the elevated walkway (map) that leads from near Red Brick Warehouse to Yamashita Park. In 1957, those tracks were very much in use:
Not far from the shack, and visible in the next still, is the Queen’s Tower クイーンの塔 of the Yokohama Customs building 横浜税関 (map). From this angle, it appears that today the smaller of the two truss bridges still exists.
I am waiting is a fun little noir, and one that includes two of Japan’s most recognizable post-war stars. It is satisfying also to see scenes of Yokohama, which, in my experience, is somewhat rare for films from this period.
And for a comical moment from the film, see:
Other films from Director Koreyoshi Kurahara 蔵原惟繕:
- The Warped Ones 狂熱の季節 (1960)
- Intimidation ある脅迫 Aru kyōhaku (1960)
- I Hate but Love (1962)
- Ginza Love Story 銀座の恋の物語 “Ginza no Koi no Monogatari” (1962) – with singer/actress Chiemi Eri 江利チエミ
- Black Sun 黒い太陽 “Kuroi taiyō” (1964)