Young-sik (Kim Hak) and his gang, who live in a red light town that caters to U.S. troops, make a living by raiding U.S. military warehouses and selling the stolen goods on the black market. Dong-sik (Cho Hae-won), arriving in Seoul in search of his brother Young-sik, reunites with him at the market and joins him in the red light town. Dong-sik tries to persuade Young-sik to return to their hometown, where his mother awaits them, but Young-sik tells him to go on by himself. Young-sik then asks Sonya (Choi Eun-hee) to accompany him to his hometown and marry him there once they manage to make a big score. But Sonya has her heart set on Dong-sik, and one night during a dance party, she seduces the younger brother while Young-sik and his gang are out on a raid. Sonya and Dong-sik enjoy a tryst by the river, but are discovered in the act by Young-sik. When Young-sik and company set off to rob a U.S. military transport train, Sonya reports the crime to the military police in order to make off with Dong-sik. Pursued by the military police, Young-sik is embroiled in a gunfight and barely gets away when a truck overturns. Sonya, appearing on the scene, is stabbed to death by Young-sik, who dies himself of a gunshot wound after asking Dong-sik to take care of their mother. In the end, Dong-sik goes back to his hometown with a prostitute named Judy (Kang Seon-hee), who has been longing to marry him. —Korean Film Archive
Shin Sang-ok has surely had one of the strangest careers of any film director. Hailed as the Orson Welles of South Korea for the modernizing influence his 1960s work had on that country’s film industry, he his now best known for having been kidnapped (along with his wife, actress Choi Eun-hee) by North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il only to escape to the United States and eventually become producer of the Disney kid flick 3 Ninjas and its sequels.
Shin was born in 1926 in the Hamyong province of what is now North Korea. He studied painting at the University of Tokyo and then returned to Korea and began his film career as a production designer on the first movie made in Korea after the Japanese occupation, Choi In-kyu’s Via Freedom. He began directing films himself shortly thereafter. His 1958 feature, Flower in Hell, was the first Korean film to feature an onscreen kiss, a mild precursor to the erotic content of his later work. Throughout the ‘60s, Shin… read more