Photo of Uchida seated with camera, probably late 1950s

Uchida Tomu: a Filmography – 内田吐夢

Note: titles with hyperlinks connect to posts containing my reviews, published on this site. If an unlinked title includes an asterisk after it, it signifies that a draft review for that title has been written, but has not yet been posted on this site.

If there are several possible English titles for a film, generally the most commonly-used one is cited.

All films that are completely or partly extant are in boldface type. All titles not in boldface are missing and presumed lost.

This filmography only includes films that Uchida directed or co-directed; films in which he appeared only as an actor are excluded. Also excluded are one other film and one television series in which he was involved. On an obscure, independently-produced 1955 film, House with a Persimmon Tree (Kaki no ki no aru ie), Uchida served as supervising producer; the movie was directed by Koga Masato, who had served as assistant director on Uchida’s lost 1940 Rekichi (History) trilogy (see below). For the 1969 television series Muyōnosuke (Useless Nosuke, NHK), according to Japanese Wikipedia, he served as “supervisor” on the series as a whole, but apparently didn’t personally direct any of the 19 episodes. According to the same source, Uchida was responsible for selecting for the title role Ibuki Goro, later to become well-known as a film and television actor. (He also wanted to cast him in a proposed version of the “Lone Wolf and Cub” manga series, later to be filmed (without Ibuki) by Misumi Kenji and others.)

Unless indicated otherwise in parentheses and italics after the English title, all of Uchida’s films from the prewar and war periods were produced and released by Nikkatsu. Unless indicated otherwise in parentheses and italics after the English title, all films from 1955 to the end of Uchida’s career were produced and released by Toei.

All films before 1937 are silent, unless noted with “(SO)” [sound] after the English title. All films after 1956 are color films unless noted with “(BW)” after the English title. All films after 1956 are in widescreen format unless noted with “(NWS)” after the English title.

For silent films, except in a few cases, length (when known) is given in reels or meters, as there was no consistent projection speed during that period. (Films in Japan in that era, particularly in rural areas, were often hand-cranked.)

The KJ Best Ten refers to the critics’ awards given annually, from 1926 to the present day, by Kinema Junpo (“Cinema Times”) Magazine to the ten films that the voting critics had judged as the best Japanese productions of that year. Uchida’s films appeared in the Best Ten list 13 times during his career (once posthumously), and he won the coveted “Best One” award twice (for films released in 1937 and 1939).

Abbreviations for home video countries of issue are: J = Japan; U = United States; F = France. (We do not keep track when a title goes out of print.)  

During his career as a director, Uchida released no films in 1923, 1926, 1941, 1943-1954 (12 years), 1966, 1967, 1969 and 1970. One film was released posthumously in 1971.

YearJapanese TitleRomanized TitleEnglish TitleLengthKJ Best TenDVD or Blu-RayNotes
1922噫小西巡査Aa, Konishi junsaAh, Officer Konishi (Makino Educational Films; Nikkatsu (dist.))6 reelsNACo-directed with Teinosuke Kinugasa
1924延命院の傴僂男Enmei-in no semushi-otokoThe Hunchback of Enmei-in (Kokkatsu)?NAAccording to Anderson and Richie, this was an uncredited remake of Wallace Worsley’s 1923 Hollywood film, The Hunchback of Notre Dame (an adaptation of the famous Victor Hugo novel, Notre-Dame de Paris), which “… lack[ed] nothing except the original’s Lon Chaney.”1
1925戦争SensoWar (Kokujo)8 reelsNAUchida either co-directed or served as second unit director to Shoji Murakoshi
義血GiketsuHonorable Blood (Kokujo)?NA
蟹満寺縁起Kaniman-ji EngiTale of Crab Temple (Asahi Kinema)1 reel (11 min.)NAUchida’s earliest surviving film and only animated work, co-directed with Okuda Hidehiko and Kimura Hakusan; accessible on YouTube (with Japanese intertitles)
地獄谷JigokudaniHell Valley (studio unknown)?NACo-director as second-unit director: the main director was Shoji Murakoshi
少年美談清き心Shonen bidan: Kiyoki kokoroMoving Tales of Youth: The Pure Heart (Shakai Kyōiku Kenkyū-jo)37 min.NAJAccessible via YouTube (with Japanese intertitles)
虚栄は地獄Kyoei wa jigoku (About 15 minutes extant)Vanity Is Hell (Asahi Kinema)467 metersNAMay be complete short subject rather than fragment; only film Uchida directed in which he also appeared as an actor
1927競走三日間Kyoso mikkakanThree Days of Competition1280 metersFirst film for Nikkatsu; first film with Kosugi Isamu and Shima Kōji
KutsuShoe1037 meters
未来の出世Mirai no shusaiRising in the World1596 meters
漕艇王Sotei-o (about 30 percent extant)The Rowing King2154 metersEarliest surviving sports comedy; accessible on YouTube (with English subtitles)
東洋武侠団Toyo bukyo-danChivalrous Company of the Orient2183 meters
なまけ者NamakemonoThe Idler1422 metersFirst screenplay credit by Uchida, from his own original story
砲煙弾雨HoendanuCannon Smoke and Rain of Shells1608 meters
1928のみすけ禁酒騒動Nomisuke kinshu sodoTrials of a Tippler’s Temperance2379 meters
地球は廻る 第三部 空想篇Chikyu wa mawaru: Dai-san-bu kuso henThe World Turns, Part 3: Fantasy Chapter?According to Peter High, Uchida’s segment in this trilogy of films was a futuristic fantasy about Japanese cities being bombed by a foreign power; the other two parts were directed by Tasaka Tomotaka and Abe Yutaka2
けちんぼ長者 (ケチンボ長者)Kechinbo chojaThe Miserly Millionaire1505 meters
HikariLight2162 meters
1929娑婆の風Shaba no kazeThe Way of This Corrupt World2219 meters
生ける人形Ikeru ningyōA Living Puppet2340 meters4First Uchida film to appear on the KJ Best Ten list (at #4); considered part of the keikō eiga (left-tendency film) movement of the time
日活行進曲 運動篇Nikkatsu koshinkyoku: Undo hen (Supotsu-hen)Nikkatsu March: Sports Chapter?
大洋児出船の港Taiyoji defune no minatoThe Sea-Loving Son Sails Away2665 meters
喜劇・汗Kigeki: AseSweat1500 metersUchida’s earliest extant feature film, not Police Officer (1933, see below) as widely believed
連戦連勝RensenrenshoSuccessive Victories [edited only]Compilation film edited from Cannon Smoke and Rain of Shells, As the World Turns and other directors’ films to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Japan’s victory in the 1905 war
1930天国其日帰りTengoku sono higaeriReturn to Heaven 1462 metersJNote: Sources say this film exists in its entirety, but the circulating version consists of mere fragments
1931ジャンバルジャン 前後篇Jan BarujanJean Valjean4471 metersTwo-part adaptation of Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables, both parts released on the same date; first multipart film directed by Uchida alone
日本嬢(ミスニッポン)Misu NipponMiss Nippon2467 meters
三面記事SanmenkijiStories of Human Interest1283 meters
仇討選手Adauchi senshuThe Revenge Champion 3176 meters6First of Uchida’s period (jidai-geki) films to appear in the KJ Best Ten list. (A clip of this film apparently exists.)3
1932大地に立つ 前篇 後篇Daichi ni tatsu: Kohen; Daichi ni tatsu: ZempenMother Earth Rises, Parts I and II1780 meters; 2188 meters
愛は何処までもAi wa doko made moLove Through Thick and Thin1819 meters
1933叫ぶ亜細亜Sakebu AjiaAsia Cries Out (Shin Eiga-sha)2280 metersOnly film Uchida made for an independent company founded by the “team of seven” filmmakers, which soon folded; according to Peter High, this was apparently a pro-militarist film4
警察官KeisatsukanPolice Officer (Shinko)91 min /121 min 5JFirst of four films Uchida made for the minor studio Shinko
1934河の上の太陽Kawa no ue no taiyoSun Over the River (Shinko)2808 meters
熱風NeppuHot Wind (Shinko)2863 meters
1935白銀の王座 前篇 後篇Hakugin no oza – Kohen; Hakugin no oza – ZempenThe Silver Throne, Parts I and II (Shinko)2299 meters; 1645 meters
1936人生劇場・青春篇Jinsei gekijō – Seishun hen (about 60 percent extant)Theater of Life: Youth Version (SO)118 min.2JFirst adaptation of Ozaki Shirō’s popular novel; Uchida filmed the “Youth” part of this two-part film; Chiba Yasuki filmed Part Two, released in 1938 (see Jinsei-gekijo: Hishakaku to Kiratsune (1968) below)
生命の冠Seimei no kanmuri [Inoshi no kanmuri] (about 55 percent extant)Crown of Life54 min.JUchida’s last silent film; only film with Hara Setsuko
1937裸の町Hadaka no machiThe Naked Town121 min.5Final film with Shima Kōji
限りなき前進Kagirinaki zenshin (about 80 percent extant)Unending Advance99 min. (74 min., current version)1Severely cut by Nikkatsu after the war 6
1938東京千一夜Tokyo sen’ichi yaA Thousand and One Nights in Tokyo61 min.Allegedly, Uchida “appropriated” funds earmarked for this film to finance the completion of Earth (see below)
1939Tsuchi (about 80 percent extant in most complete version)Earth142 min. (original); exists in 93, 115 and 117 min. versions1JAllegedly, this film was completed clandestinely against the will of the studio; received award from the Ministry of Education; tied for 4th place (with Kurosawa’s Drunken Angel (Yoidore Tenshi) in a 1959 critics’ poll of the best Japanese productions of all time; copies preserved only in East German and Russian archives
中支散見Chushi SankenCentral China [edited only]?Edited short subject consisting of footage taken from Tasaka Tomotaka’s Mud and Soldiers
1940歴史 / 第1部 動乱戊辰 , 第2部 焦土建設、第3部 黎明日本Rekishi: Daiichibu: Doran Boshin; Rekishi: Dainibu: Shodo kensetsu; Rekishi: Daisanbu: Reimei NihonHistory Part I: Upheaval During the Boshin War; History Part II: Scorched Earth and Construction; History Part III: Dawn of Japan?7 (Part One only)Three-part film released in two installments over two weeks in 1940
1942鳥居強右衛門Torii SuneemonTorii Suneemon (Shochiku)?Only film for Shochiku; last “lost” film
1955血槍富士Chiyari FujiA Bloody Spear at Mount Fuji 94 mins.8J, U, FFirst film after Uchida’s return from China and first film for Toei; remake of a 1927 silent film; first film with Kataoka Chiezō
たそがれ酒場Tasogare Sakaba Twilight Saloon (Shintoho)94 mins.JOnly film for Shintoho; final film with Kosugi Isamu
自分の穴の中でJibun no ana no nakade A Hole of My Own Making (Nikkatsu)125 mins.JFirst film with Mikuni Rentarō; final film for Nikkatsu
1956黒田騒動Kuroda sodoThe Kuroda Affair109 min.
逆襲獄門砦Gyakushu gokumon torideRebellion from Below94 mins.
1957暴れん坊街道Abarenbo kaidoThe Horse Boy (BW) (NWS)95 mins.Entered in the 1957 Berlin Film Festival
大菩薩峠Daibosatsu tōge ISwords in the Moonlight I106 min.JFirst episode of the first of two surviving multipart works directed by Uchida (the other being Miyamoto Musashi); his first color and first widescreen film and first film with Nakamura Kinnosuke
どたんばDotanbaThe Eleventh Hour (BW)109 min.7JRemake of a TV movie of the same name
1958千両獅子Senryō-jishiThe Thief Is Shogun’s Kin 791 min.
大菩薩峠 第二部Daibosatsu tōge IISwords in the Moonlight, Part II105 min.
森と湖のまつりMori to mizuumi no matsuriThe Outsiders113 min.JFirst film with Takakura Ken
1959大菩薩峠・完結篇Daibosatsu tōge IIISwords in the Moonlight, Part III106 min.
大氷河を行Nanbei Patagonia tanken: daihyoga o yukuVoyage to Patagonia: Crossing the Great Glacier) (Mainichi Movie Company documentary) [edited only]88 min.Uchida’s only documentary; credited as “supervisor,” though he didn’t shoot any footage; not known if ever shown publicly
浪花の恋の物語Naniwa no koi no monogatariChikamatsu’s Love in Osaka105 min.7J, F
1960酒と女と槍Sake to onna to yariThe Master Spearman99 min.J, F
妖刀物語 / 花の吉原百人斬りYōtō monogatari: Hana no Yoshiwara Hyakunin giriHero of the Red Light District109 min.J, F
1961宮本武蔵Miyamoto MusashiMusashi Miyamoto110 min.J, UFirst episode of the second of two surviving multipart works directed by Uchida
1962恋や恋なすな恋Koiya koi nasuna koiThe Mad Fox109 min.J, U, FEntered in the 1962 Venice Film Festival
宮本武蔵・般若坂の決斗Miyamoto Musashi: Hannyazaka no kettoMusashi Miyamoto II: Duel at Hannya Hill107 min.J, U
1963宮本武蔵・二刀流開眼Miyamoto Musashi: Nitoryu kaigenMusashi Miyamoto III: Birth of the Nito-ryu Style104 min.J, U
1964宮本武蔵・一乗寺の決斗Miyamoto Musashi: Ichijoji no kettoMusashi Miyamoto IV: Duel at Ichijyo-ji Temple128 min.J, U
1965飢餓海峡Kiga kaikyoA Fugitive from the Past * (BW)192 min. (original); also 167, 175 and 183 min. versions5 (in the 1964 poll) 8J, FExtensively edited by Toei against Uchida’s wishes: two separate versions (167 minutes and 183 minutes) were approved as a compromise; voted the third-best Japanese film of all time in the KJ 1999 centennial critics’ poll
宮本武蔵・巌流島の決斗Miyamoto Musashi: Ganryu-jima no kettoMusashi Miyamoto V: Duel at Ganryu Island121 min.J, UFinal film with Kataoka Chiezō
1968人生劇場・飛車角と吉良常Jinsei-gekijo: Hishakaku to KiratsuneA Tale of Two Yakuza109 min.9JFinal film for Toei; based on the same Ozaki Shirō novel as Theater of Life: Youth Version (1936, see above), but from a different part of the book; final film with Takakura Ken
1971真剣勝負Shinken shobuSwords of Death (Toho)75 min.6JOnly film for Toho, though allegedly unfinished; only posthumously-released film; final film with Mikuni Rentarō and Nakamura Kinnosuke; won an award at the 1972 Taormina Film Festival: the only Uchida film to win a foreign festival award

Footnotes

  1. Anderson, Joseph L. and Richie, Donald. The Japanese Film: Art and Industry – Expanded Edition, p. 330. Princeton University Press. ISBN: 0691007926 (paperback).
  2. High, Peter B. The Imperial Screen, pp. 11-12. University of Wisconsin Press, 2003. ISBN: 0299181340.
  3. Apparently, a very brief fragment of this film (less than 30 seconds) has been preserved. According to film scholar Aaron Gerow, as explained on his website, at the time the movie was released, such short clips of popular films were sold in retail venues like department stores, to be viewed by film fans as home movies on toy projectors, and it appears that such a clip is the only bit of the film that has survived. It was originally part of the “Toy Film (“omocha eiga” (おもちゃ映画)) Project” of the Osaka University of Arts, with the collection later moved to the present-day Toy Film Museum of Kyoto. This page clearly displays this movie as part of a collection of clips featuring the film’s popular star, Okochi Denjirō, though it gives no additional information, including the duration of the clip. However, because of the very fragmentary nature of this excerpt, I can’t accurately rate this work as “partly extant,” particularly since I have not been to the museum to see whether the clip is even viewable.
  4. High, op.cit., p. 34
  5. Running lengths vary based upon projection speed.
  6. Edited by Nikkatsu, with the original tragic ending changed to a happy one. When Uchida returned from China, he forced the studio to re-edit the film to provide explanatory title cards to preserve his original intent.
  7. This title is so obscure, I don’t know for certain if it was shot in color. According to the record of the print held at the National Film Archive of Japan (NFAJ), the film is in black-and- white, but no information is given about whether it is in widescreen format.
  8. This film was originally scheduled for a November 1964 release and was presumably screened for critics at that time; hence, its appearance in the poll for the “wrong” year.