Thursday, September 20, 2007


My friend Dan -- perhaps inspired by my previous Akira Kurosawa posting -- sent me this link for an old Suntory Reserve Whiskey ad featuring Francis Ford Coppola produced during the making of Kagemusha.

Classic stuff.

Of course it only shows Kurosawa hard at work; Coppola is standing around looking, well, big. Coppola then happily sips the whiskey with Akira Kurosawa while seated around a coffee table, looking at large stills from the Kagemusha shoot: "Good work Akira and good whiskey. Yar..." The way I figure it, seeing as Coppola was an Executive Producer on Kagemusha, the funding had to come from somewhere. Certainly Kurosawa didn't object considering his love for whiskey (and booze in general) and we already know about Coppola and his wine.

(As a bit of trivia I used to live quite close to the Suntory Whiskey plant in Osaka prefecture, once upon a time-- and being a fool I never took the plant tour. What was I thinking?)

But running with this line of old Japanese ads featuring celebrities, one of my favorite ads of all time are Charles Bronson in the MANDOM men's toiletry ad campaign. If you've never seen them before, they're totally mind-blowing. In fact, I was so inspired by them that the last time I was in Japan, I bought a bottle of the MANDOM aftershave-- which, as if frozen in a block of ice and just recently thawed out, has not be redesigned since the 1970s! Groovy! Thinking the aftershave would be only a novelty at best and probably smell like a Jovan Musk spill at JC PENNY'S I was surprised to discover that I actually liked the scent! It's not cloying or revolting in any way!!

(For the record there are no gun shot sound effects accompanying the aftershave's use. Though, curiously, it does make you throw off your shirt and say "Mmmmm Mandom!")


Marc said...

Thanks for the Mandom memories. Do you bathe in it like Charlie B? Only an undertaker uses that much cologne on somebody!

An interesting fact is that the director of those Bronson / Mandom commercials was none other than Nobuhiko Obayashi, who started his career as a very successful commercial director before moving on to his debut fictional feature, the astounding HOUSE, in 1977. Anybody who knows his style from films like THE LITTLE GIRL WHO CONQUERED TIME, EXCHANGE STUDENTS, THE AIMED SCHOOL and so on, will recognize it in these commercials, with the swirling camera and all. OB, as he was known, was one of the first (if not the first) Japanese directors to use foreign talent for TV commercials - he apparently also did some spots with Kirk Douglas!

Interesting fact #2 is that after Bronson's contract with Mandom expired, guess who the next "Mandom Man" was? None other than otoko-rashii superstar Yusaku Matsuda, who's best known here as the bad guy from Ridley Scott's BLACK RAIN!

Anonymous said...

All the world loves a lover!
Did you see my post on KJ about this a few months back?
...great stuff, I need to buy some too.

Nicholas Rucka said...


Thanks for the comment. Ya know, I didn't get this from your KJ post, but I probably found out about it somehow as a result of it. (Does that make any sense? Nope, it doesn't to me either.) Anyway, if you have any more cool hookups then let me know. The world loves a lover and needs more cool MANDOM like ads!

Marc - Aha, yep, it seemed too good not to mention during this celebrity themed blog entries. Sure, any dude with YouTube can find an old Stallone or Schwartz-chan ad, but Charlie B is the real deal.

Your writing about OB makes me want to watch HOUSE again! But I don't own a copy of it! What does a fan have to do to get someone in the US to release that fucking movie?? More Obayashi! Less junk!!