Kataoka Chiezo Productions (片岡千恵蔵プロダクション)

Kataoka Chiezo Productions (established on May 10, 1928, liquidated in April of 1937) was a film company located in Kyoto Prefecture. Established by a popular actor of the time named Chiezo Kataoka, its own studio was constructed in Sagano a year after its establishment. This company produced many classic films, including Hiroshi INAGAKI's "Mabuta no Haha" and "Yataro Gasa," Mansaku ITAMI's "Kokushi Muso" and "Akanishi Kakita," as well as Sadao YAMANAKA's "Furyu Katsujinken." It was commonly referred to as "Chie Puro."

Prior to Establishment

Chiezo KATAOKA met Shozo MAKINO and joined Makino Productions in April of 1927 through a novelist who established 'Rengo Eiga Geijutsuka Kyokai' (United Film Artists Association) in Nara and engaged in film production named Sanjugo NAOKI, and entered contract negotiations in February of 1928 when Ryunosuke TSUKIGATA resigned from the company. However, the negotiation process became so complicated that even the mediator named Tokujiro YAMAZAKI from Sankyo, Makino's distribution company in the Shikoku region, became angry with Makino.

In April of the same year, Yamazaki, together with Ryosuke TACHIBANA, the chief officer of Bando Tsumasaburo Productions, and Kikumatsu OSHIMA of Kikusui Kinema Shokai in Kobe, contacted the owners of 150 movie theaters across the nation and established 'Nihon Katsudo Josetsukan Kanshu Renmei Eiga Haikyu Honsha' (Distribution Company Headquarters for Movie Theater Owners in Japan) (also known as "Kanshu Renmei" [the Theater Owner's Association]). This company adopted a policy to invest in independent film studios and distribute their films directly. Taking this opportunity, Kataoka resigned from Makino Productions in April and established 'Kataoka Chiezo Productions' on May 10. Kanjuro ARASHI, Toshio YAMAGUCHI (actor of Shinpa-Geki), Ryutaro NAKANE, Kobunji ICHIKAWA and Reizaburo YAMAMOTO resigned from Makino around the same time, each establishing their own film production companies and worked together with Chie Puro to organize 'Nihon Eiga Purodakushon Renmei' (Japan Movie Production Federation). Makino's chief stage carpenter Hiroshi Kawai and cameraman Juzo TANAKA also resigned from Makino in response to Yamazaki's call and established a rental studio called 'Nihon Kinema Studio' (Narabigaoka Studio) at Narabigaoka in Kyoto.

The company's own studio in Sagano

Chie Puro began producing its first film at Narabigaoka Studio on May 16, six days after its establishment. The film was called "Tenka Taiheiki," written by Mansaku ITAMI and directed by Hiroshi Inagaki.
Making appearances in this film were Ryuzo TAKEI, who resigned from Makino and joined Chie Puro around the same time, and Kobunji, who established 'Ichikawa Kobunji Kabuki Eiga Productions.'
This film was the first to be distributed by Yamazaki's 'Kanshu Renmei,' but this distribution company had already collapsed by the end of July right before the release of 'Horo Zanmai,' the second film produced by Chie Puro, written/adapted by Itami and directed by Inagaki. While other film studios that had been established around the same time were being forced to liquidate, Chie Puro was the only company to produce six films that year and began looking for land for their own studio.

In January of 1929,'Chiezo Production Studio' was established on Sanjo Street in Sagano Akikaido Town and filming began while construction was still underway. During May of the same year, "Soma Daisaku Budo Kassatsu no Maki" and "Ehon Musha Shugyo" were distributed by Nikkatsu through mediation by Hirohisa IKENAGA of Nikkatsu Studio. Takei, who appeared in nine films produced by Chie Puro, became independent in February and established Takei Ryuzo Productions at Narabigaoka Studio (liquidated the same year).

In 1932, Chie Puro set up 'Talkie Study Group' in its studio and produced "Tabi wa Aozora," directed by Inagaki, using 'P.C.L. Talkie' developed by P.C.L. Eiga Seisakusho.
In 1934, they constructed a talkie stage and began producing talkie films using the 'Tsukagoshi Talkie method.'
During September of the same year, the stage was rented to Masaichi NAGATA's 'Daiichi Eiga,' which was to produce "Kensetsu no Hitobito" directed by Daisuke Ito (film director), but the stage collapsed in Typhoon Muroto. Restoration work began in October and filming resumed using a temporary stage.

At the end of the year, Chiezo Productions sent a letter to break off its relationship with Nikkatsu, but this turned into a dispute and went into litigation. In January of 1935, the company partnered with 'Nihon Eiga Haikyu,' a company established by Shochiku with the aim of destroying Nikkatsu. However, Nikkatsu regained its footing, 'Nihon Eiga Haikyu' was liquidated, breaking Shochiku's plan, and Shinko Kinema became Chiezo Productions' distribution company in October. During this time, Number Two Talkie Stage was completed. Half a year later during May of 1936, Chiezo Productions resumed its partnership with Nikkatsu through mediation by a novelist named Shin HASEGAWA.

The demise of Chiezo Productions

In April of 1937, Chiezo Productions produced "Asano Takuminokami," a film to commemorate their 100th film, then liquidated after filming was completed for "Matsugoro Midareboshi." The company was then taken over by Nikkatsu. Rather than Kataoka's absence due to illness for three months at the beginning of the year, Chie Puro was basically liquidated due to a request by Nikkatsu when Denjiro Okochi resigned from Nikkatsu and joined J.O Studio. Chie Puro's management was healthy at the time, and employee salaries were paid regularly even while Kataoka was absent. "The age of Chie Puro, Chiezo KATAOKA, Hiroshi INAGAKI, Mansaku ITAMI Free and Easy Entertainment" (compiled by Mika TOMITA, Ato-sha, 1997) is available as a record of the company.