Tokyo Filming Locations: Pt VI – Walk Don’t Run

This film proved to be Cary Grant’s swansong and it was mostly set in and around Toranomon during the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games. On his arrival in the Japanese capital on business he turns up at Hotel Okura (below) in the first minute which is located at 2-10-4 Toranomon. He is unable to get a room there so goes to the British Embassy at 1 Ichibancho in Chiyoda-ku which lies to the west of the Imperial Palace. It is here where he sees an advert for an apartment which he soon fast-talks his way into sharing with Samantha Eggar.

    

The first shot we see is of the impressive embassy building itself (above left) followed by a close up of the sign (above right) which I tried to replicate but its not so visible unlike my hand and camera which can be seen in the reflection!

 

A lot of the action takes place on the streets of Toranomon which all looks very different these days but thats not so surprising as it has been over 40 years since it was made! The embassy and hotel are the two main locations although Asakusa senso-ji temple (below left) does appear in the opening montage after just 12 seconds. The address for this bustling tourist attraction is 2-3-1 Asakusa, Taito-ku.

 

The three main stars take a boat to Mikawa, an old province of Japan, 11 minutes into the film where they visit a garden three minutes later. The next Tokyo location to appear on screen is not till the 91st minute when Yoyogi National Gymnasium (above right) is where the Olympic walking race begins and ends. Rather embarassingly it took me quite a while before I realised that its this event which gives the film its title!

Review: Films Set In Japan – ‘Walk, Don’t Run’ (1966)

Set during the Tokyo Olympics of 1964 this was Cary Grant’s final film appearance and it sees him arrive in the Japanese capital on business but he is unable get any accommodation. Whilst at the British Embassy he sees an advert for an apartment which he soon fast-talks his way into sharing with Samantha Eggar. After a couple of days he then decides to sub-let his half of the place to a member of the USA Olympic team and then he tries to play cupid.

I picked up this film for a few quid whilst I was back in Britain over the Christmas period and finally got round to viewing it recently. The reason I watch all the films featured in the ‘set in Japan’ category on this blog is for the locations. Asakusa senso-ji temple is at the start of the film just to set the scene and once it gets underway we see the British Embassy, Yoyogi stadium, the outside and lobby of Hotel Okura and the streets of Toranomon. The film offers a rare glimpse of life in 1960’s Tokyo which I’ve heard just doesn’t really exist anymore.

Its a light, romantic comedy where the plot flows along gently with, in my opinion, the best scenes being when its just Grant and Eggar working their way round the absurd bathroom schedule. Grant provides further comedic timing when distracting Eggar’s fiancee on a boat trip as he tries to provide matchmaker. After that I feel it gets a bit silly and its maybe no surprise that Grant decided to call it a day at the end of this!

‘Walk, Don’t Run’ was perhaps one of the first true Hollywood films to be made in Japan and inevitably shows the usual exaggerated scenes of bowing and disgust at the thought of eating raw octopus which have popped up time and time again through international films set in the land of the rising sun. Overall, its a nice, little movie to fill a couple of hours when but walk, don’t run to see it!