Yamamoto Reizaburo Productions (山本礼三郎プロダクション)
Yamamoto Reizaburo Productions (established in June 1928 and dissolved in August) was a film company located in Kyoto. It was established by Reizaburo YAMAMOTO, an actor who belonged to Makino Productions, and produced one silent film in the rentable Narabigaoka Studio. Called "Yamamoto Pro" for short.
Brief History and Summary
Reizaburo YAMAMOTO, having become quite at home in his role as Isami KONDO from the April 1927 production of "Kuramatengu-ibun Kakubeejishi," left Makino in May of 1928 after acting in twenty-five films and established 'Yamamoto Reizaburo Productions' (Yamamoto Pro).
As prelude to this establishment, in April of 1928 Tokujiro YAMAZAKI of Sankyo, which had been distributing Makino's films in the Shikoku area, conspired with the top executive of Bando Tsumasaburo Productions named Ryosuke TACHIBANA to ask 150 independent theater owners throughout Japan, such as Kikumatsu OSHIMA of Kikusui Kinema in Kobe that had dealt with independent works by moviemakers, to cooperate in establishing '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]) in Osaka and declaring policies of the direct release of movies as well as funding for production costs of independent productions. Chiezo KATAOKA, having had trouble with Makino over renewal of his contract, left Makino in April and established 'Kataoka Chiezo Productions' (Chie Pro) in May while Makino Productions' chief stagehand Hiroshi KAWAI and cameraman Juzo TANAKA also left Makino inspired by YAMAZAKI and established the studio-for-rent 'Japan Cinema Studio' (Narabigaoka Studio) in Narabigaoka, Kyoto.
Concurrently with KATAOKA, Kanjuro ARASHI, Ryutaro NAKANE, Toshio YAMAGUCHI (an actor belonging to Shinpa-Geki) and Reizaburo YAMAMOTO establishing their own productions, they formed the 'Japan Movie Production Federation' with Kobunji's "Kabuki Eiga Pro" and started to supply YAMAZAKI's 'Kanshu Renmei' with films that were shot using the rentable 'Narabigaoka Studio' operated by KAWAI and TANAKA. As its first film, 'Yamamoto Pro' produced "Sohaku no Kenshi" starring YAMAMOTO. The film was directed by Sadae TAKAMI and shot by Harumi FUJII, both of whom had been recruited away from Makino, and Ryuko ITOURA (later known as Kyoko SAKURAI), who belonged to 'Kinugasa Eiga Renmei,' Sadanosuke KINUGASA's writer-led independent production, was selected as a costar. The film was released in theaters such as the 'Kikusuikan' on July 1, 1928 as a dual feature with "Nozaki-mura Village" produced by 'Ichikawa Kobunji Kabuki Eiga Productions,' "Sukedachi Shobai" (The Business of Backing Up Somebody) produced by 'Nakane Ryutaro Comedy Productions' (Nakane Pro) and "Battleship Kinugasa" by 'Morimoto Torao Productions,' a writer-led independent production by Torao MORIMOTO, who had separated from Teikoku Kinema Engei Kabushiki Gaisha (Imperial Cinema Entertainment Co., Ltd.) apart from the aforementioned movement.
However, YAMAZAKI's 'Kanshu Renmei' fell apart early at the end of July that year. As a result, 'Yamamoto Pro' was dissolved without producing a second film along with other production companies which had been established at the same time. Chie Pro and Arashi Kanjuro Productions (Kan Pro) survived, but Kan Pro dissolved for the first of two times in 1928 (this is why it is called The First Arashi Kanjuro Production) and only Chie Pro went on to build its own studio in Sagano early the next year.
After the dissolution of Yamamoto Pro and after playing the role of Isami KONDO in two movies of "Kurama Tengu," which Kan Pro had succeeded from Makino, Yamamoto joined Kawai Eiga Seisakusha in Tokyo with the director TAKAMI, the cameraman FUJII moved to Kan Pro and then to Toa Kinema Kyoto Studio, and SAKURAI moved to Nikkatsu Studio using the alias ITOURA.