Alone on the Pacific (Taiheiyo hitori-botchi) (1963)





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Movie Info

What might have been a banal TV "movie of the week" in American hands is transformed into a work of art by Japanese director Kon Ichikawa (Harp of Burma). Alone on the Pacific is based on the true story of Kenichi Horie, who as an adult fulfilled his childhood ambition of crossing the Pacific in a small, handmade vessel. Yuiro Ishihara stars as the erstwhile mariner, who sets out on his mission from Japan's Osaka Bay. Despite the ravages of the elements, Ishihara realizes his goal, and in the last shot is seen sailing beneath the Golden Gate bridge. The film's more suspenseful moments are leavened by welcome (and appropriate) doses of humor. Also titled My Enemy, The Sea, Alone on the Pacific is based on Kenichi Horie's own logbook. The American print runs 100 minutes, 4 minutes shy of the original Japanese running time. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
Action & Adventure , Art House & International , Drama
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Critic Reviews for Alone on the Pacific (Taiheiyo hitori-botchi)

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Audience Reviews for Alone on the Pacific (Taiheiyo hitori-botchi)

A disappointing film from Ichikawa, especially considering it was made in the same year as the magnificent Revenge of a Kabuki Actor. A young man decides to sail his tiny yacht from Osaka to San Francisco, just for the hell of it. Ichikawa cranked out a lot of movies in his lifetime, and this feels like one of the more half-hearted efforts. The naval cinematography (is that right? seems like there ought to be a better phrase for that) is superb, capturing the enormity of the Pacific, the cramped confines below deck, and a few exciting sequences. There's some nice attention to detail and good use of the ultra-wide frame. But there's just not much heart and soul or depth to it. Star Yûjirô Ishihara is likeable enough in the lead role, but we don't really get too attached to him or get invested in his journey. Because the journey itself is almost entirely geographical; he doesn't evolve much as a character. Perhaps the whole thing is a response to the Japanese "Sun Tribe" films (Ishihara had a small role in Crazed Fruit, and most likely did other work in the genre), some kind of critique on the restlessness of youth. But I didn't really get that from it. Just sort of felt like an average survival/adventure tale.

Martin Teller
Martin Teller

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