So I finally got around to watching the original Japanese version of Shall We Dance?. The US remake with Richard Gere and Jennifer Lopez is remarkably similar. Even for a remake. Of course, it’s more Hollywood. That is, everything is bigger and better. Somehow even the dance photography (which is just fine in the original) is even better in the US version, even when it almost exactly copies the shot.
But the original Japanese version has more heart. For one thing, it explains where the title comes from. It’s a quote from one of the character’s favorite movies: The King and I, with Yul Brynner. That’s a telling trait.
In the Japanese version our hero is a hard-working corporate accountant who has bought an American dream style house for his family. In the US version he’s a lawyer.
The guy who originated the Stanley Tucci role is awesome! I always wondered why Stanley had such a grimace on his face. This guy knows how to wear it naturally!
According to Wikipedia, some 26 scenes were edited out of the US/European version of the film. It came to 17 minutes. I don’t see where. I wonder what we’re missing. Can anybody out there compare the 2 versions for me? That is, the 2 Japanese versions: one for domestic consumption, the other for international distribution.
So whether or not you’ve seen the US version, you need to see the original. Then, a few months later, while it’s still in your mind but it’s not too fresh, watch the other version so you can compare the two.
I like them both.