Giants & Toys (1958)
Audio: C Extras: C Film: B+
If it’s one thing that society appreciates, it’s a
beautiful person. What society
appreciates more is a beautiful person that has aspirations, goals, a sense of
humor, and common interests. Yasuzo
Masumura’s Giants and Toys, as strange and candy coated as it is, hits
this mark right on the nose as it is the story of the right girl being found to
be a spokeswoman for a candy company that lands her the duty of being the Katie
Holmes of the week. Everybody wants to
know about her – what she eats, who she dates, who she sleeps with, but never
really on what she sells. At one point
of the film, one of the executives for the caramel company stands up in the
middle of a meeting and says that he’s not interested in getting famous people
as spokespersons because the public is looking more towards the famous person
than the product he or she is selling.
That’s a bold statement and a good point. When you see Catherine Zeta
Jones on TV selling a cell phone, do you want to buy the phone? Or see Zorro swing down and give her a kiss?
The story is simple enough. A caramel candy company finds itself in a bit of a mess when
their sales are dropping – they need a plan.
At first, they list off every reason you could think of. Giving away animals, having contests, then
they realize what they need to somebody pretty to sell their products. They go on a search and find a dirt poor
cute little girl who instantly becomes the next thing. She’s on the news, in magazines, on the
radio – everyone is talking about her.
Soon, the lives of the executives start to change when more money and
popularity are coming their way. It’s
the Simone of the 1950s but without an aging Al Pacino and well…. good.
Giants and Toys is more intelligent than it
lets on to be. It is packaged like some
cheesy ridiculous film with girls wearing large glass bubbles on their heads
and sporting ridiculous outfits and laser guns. I didn’t know what to expect when I got this film. The story of a low class girl getting
overnight fame was not what I was expecting.
The film is a pleasant surprise.
It’s funny, witty, shot pretty well, and that girl is…. well… pretty
lovable. I’d buy her caramel candies.
The sound and video on this disc is average. The anamorphically enhanced 2.35 X 1 aspect
ratio on this disc is a bit above average, but not enough to rate it higher and
the colors aren’t as vibrant as they should be. They are more muted and show that the film print used here has suffered
from aging. There is a decent Dolby
Digital 2.0 Mono track that is just shows it age often.
The extras on this disc are a bit lingering as well –
original theatrical trailer, Yasuzo Masumura Biography and Filmography, and a
photo and still gallery. In short, Giants
and Toys is a fun film but this disc is just average over and over
again. Perhaps a better edition will be
released at a later time. Check it out
if you enjoy fun social commentaries, the film is more intelligent then it
leads on to be and makes some interesting points throughout.
- Jamie Lockhart