Three Pretty Devils
Director: Motohiro Torii
Year: 1970
Rating: 5.0

Aka - Sanbiki no mesubachi

Aka - Girl Boss Three Pretty Devils

In some places on the internet this film is referred to as Girl Boss Three Pretty Devils but I am not sure how accurate this is. There were a number of films in the 1970s that were part of the Girl Boss female gang series from Toei. This sort of falls into that genre but it just seems awfully tame and more comedic than exploitive for a Girl Boss film. As best as I can figure out the Japanese title translates to something like Three Honey Bees but that could be very wrong!

Anyway, this is sort of a Girls Just Wanna Have Fun film. That is if having fun consists of hustling and scamming men for meals, booze and money. Let's face it men of all ages are easy targets for a pretty girl's come-on. And if that doesn't make him open his wallet, sex will. But for the most part it is all done with light pop sensibilities that wander about in no particular direction with no destination in mind. Every now and then it looks like it might get sleazy and serious but quickly pulls back after perhaps a glimpse of nudity.  There are moments when it reminded me of a teenage Beach movie but with a lot more larceny and a lot less sand - or even at times like a Love American Style scene. Then a naked breast pops out or a Yakuza beats up someone and you have to reconsider. The director Motohiro Torii who wrote scripts for Street Fighter, Sister Street Fighter and one of the Red Peony Gambler films just feels lost here as plot threads come and go like traffic lights.

A large Expo is taking place in Osaka which was a real event with the motto "Progress and Harmony for Mankind." and lasted for six months in 1970. It was a like a beacon to freelance girls with a cash register for a heart as they make their way to Osaka like an invasion of locusts. Pretty, hip, immoral and willing to take chances with the law. Three girls that came down separately end up bonding together and working on schemes to hustle stupid men. There is Sachiko (Junko Natsu) who has clearly played this game before and specializes in getting men back to short time hotels and running off with their money when they are taking a bath; Mina (Reiko Ohara) doing small con jobs and Hatsue (not sure who, maybe Yôko Ichiji) who doesn't mind a roll on the mattress or letting an old man feel her up for a reward. After a score they go out to clubs and dance. One of the singers at the club is Peter, an androgynous singer who was known at the time and was apparently in Ran of all things. Also, making a cameo is singer  Wada “Akko” Akiko who sings the theme song and beats up a few Yakuza thugs and has a pretty good scowl going for her.

This grifting part is fine but then lots of sub-plots are brought in - a  man cheating on their friend (Yuriko Mishima), a broken heart, a stolen document about a land deal, a truck chase, the Yakuza - that go nowhere. Mild fun for the pop scene, nifty fashions, runaway camera work and the Expo but not much of a payoff. It just flutters away in the end.