Public Domain Theater: The Street Fighter (& “The Playful Polar Bears”)

Welcome to Public Domain Theater, your home for the wonderful world of films that have (in the United States, at least) fallen into the public domain, and are free for everyone to see!

This month, we’re leaving behind the lavish, artfully crafted sets of big-budget silent era films, and are jumping ahead to the gritty, grimy world of 1970’s B-flicks. Our selection: The Street Fighter! (no connection to the video game)

This Japanese martial arts/crime film stars Shinichi “Sonny” Chiba as a freelance criminal and martial arts badass who gets embroiled in a conflict between gangsters and the heir to an oil conglomerate/karate school. Said heir happens to be a beautiful woman, because of a course she is.

It’s not a film for the faint of heart, as deaths are frequent, the violence is brutal, and the “hero” is little better than the villains he’s fighting. It’s also not something to expect too much from in the way of plot or character development. That stuff is there, and theoretically both the plot and the characters are complex, but it’s easy to forget that given how little time is spent on those aspects of the story in favor of moving from one savage beatdown to the next. But if that sounds like your jam, this flick can make for some cheesy fun.

Trigger Warning: violent death, sexual assault, bodily mutilation, massive amounts of red colored corn syrup blood

Maybe you’re not looking for something dark and violent and gritty, though. Maybe you want something that’s more sweet and light-hearted, something you wouldn’t mind watching with your kids. Well, have no fear, because Public Domain Theater has you covered! For our opening cartoon, we have a charming little short from the Color Classics series, “The Playful Polar Bears”.

No violent anti-heroes or brutal finishing moves here. Just a cute look at polar bears frolicking around in the arctic, getting into some very mild slapstick, and just being gosh-darn adorable.

Until one of the cubs is gunned down by hunters.

Trigger warning?

Opening Cartoon:

Feature Presentation: