Back in the glory days of the Roman Porno, Nikkatsu Studios were pumping out the titles rather quickly, which always managed to entertain, for the most part, that firmly kept up their status in the genre. Initially released at the height of the studios’ power under the title ‘Mesunekotachi no yoru,’ the film typified their Roman Porno line of films and emerges as one of their better efforts overall.
The film was screened at Five Flavours,
Working as a bathhouse prostitute, Masako (Tomoko Katsura, from “Woman on the Night Train”) and her street-whore friend Jun (Hidemi Hara, from “Affair at Twilight”) are among a troop of girls passed around by the mob in downtown Tokyo called ‘The Turkish Paradise.’ She begins a sexual relationship with her bisexual neighbor Honda (Ken Yoshizawa, from “Violent Cop”) who’s other lover is male prostitute Makoto (Hidetoshi Kagayama, from “Wife to be Sacrificed”) who has recently fallen in love with a young woman. When the three-way relationship starts to strain due to the unusual circumstances, they try to solve the problems facing them before everyone gets hurt in the aftermath.
Overall, this emerges as one of the finest efforts in this Roman Porno style. As expected here, the simplistic screenplay by Kensho Nakano essentially allows for a constant stream of finely-provided nudity. Katsura is a particularly stunning woman and has plenty of chances to strip nude here. Her job at the bathhouse provides plenty of changes for her to get naked, while the scenes of her fixing drinks in her apartment, vacuuming or preparing meals are handled by being topless which enhances the sensuality even further. However, it’s not just her that provides this with sensual moments. From a dice-game played on a lovers’ naked back or observing other couples having sex in neighboring apartments alongside the sex scenes together, ‘Night of the Felines’ works nicely to provide plenty of erotic thrills throughout here.
Nakano’s simple story also works nicely in other areas. The manner in which the romance develops, from Honda spying on his neighbors which upsets Makoto, to the ways in which Makoto’s own affair with a different woman comes between everyone, gives this a straightforward plot. By initially starting by wanting Makoto to know what it’s like to have sex with a girl, the scenes of them acting out as a couple in the middle of the day or going forward with their sexual plans enable this one to highlight what’s going on with the group. As it gradually gets revealed where the relationship is heading, the sudden outburst it showcases here is quite shocking as we have become quite invested in this central triangle.
The cast here really makes the movie shine. Tomoko Katsura as the lead Masako is a spectacular lead. Funny, sweet and quite cute, her easy-going demeanor and gentle nature lead us through this scenario with relative ease. As well, guided by her naked form for so much of it, the appeal is enhanced further. Ken Yoshizawa as her bisexual lover Honda is quite a memorable persona. Granted a character quirk of disliking to use his hands for anything, that he uses his feet for everything is what we really know of him. He tends to observe people having sex frequently and casts quite a presence, which makes him quite a dominating figure. Likewise, his icy demeanor and thin goatee leave another impression that warps his entire time on-screen. Finally, Hidetoshi Kagayama as male prostitute Makoto tries hard but disappears into the background against the other two. Basically in love with another woman but wanting to keep sleeping with Honda, he leaves a lot of potential on the table as he doesn’t really do much.
While there’s a lot to like here, it does suffer from one main problem. ‘Night of the Felines’ basically suffers from the general sense of boredom that runs rampant throughout here. Basically, the nudity is all that holds up here, as the blandness of what’s going on is all swept away from the intriguing storyline. Director Nakano lets the first half just really plod along until it gets to the storyline about needing to have sex with another woman, and it picks up significantly from there. However, it does emerge as quite a struggle to stay interested in the film until then. Going back-and-forth between the apartment and life at the bathhouse doesn’t provide much beyond the nudity, so this has some problems getting going. Once it does this, it’s a nicely rewarding experience.
While it has some minor issues with the pacing overall, the film has plenty to like about it elsewhere to make this one of the more enjoyable Roman pornos in the Nikkatsu line. Patient viewers who like this style will find it engaging, while viewers unaware of the pacing will find the film a little troubling to really connect to.