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original title: Seven Nights in Japan
duration: 1h 44min
keywords: sevendays, worldtour, britishroyalprince, loveatfirstsight, interracialrelationship, loverloverrelationship, barfight, incognitoroyalty, royalnavyofficer, loveaffair, forbiddenlove, femaletourguide, g
Royal tearaway Prince George (Michael York) arrives in Japan aboard a Royal Navy ship. He is a sailor with diplomatic duties and responsibilities to attend to, but has a history of neglecting such frivolities when the mood takes him. Faced with a long and tedious shore leave at the residence of the British Ambassador, Henry Hollander (Charles Gray), George decides he cannot bear such a stay. He sneaks out of the Ambassador's house at night and explore the delights of Tokyo alone, with civilian clothes and dark glasses to keep his identity secret. One evening, he meets a pretty tour guide named Sumi (Hidemi Aoki) and is immediately smitten with her. He returns to meet her again the following night, and soon a bond of love and desire forms between them. Sumi is not aware of George's true identity... together they head off into rural Japan, spending more time together and falling deeper in love as they do so. George begins to have serious doubts about returning to his ship, and contemplates throwing away all his royal privileges for a simple life with this humble Japanese tour guide. Meanwhile, a team of political assassins plot to locate the AWOL Prince and eliminate him.
The notion of a Royal craving a simpler life and having a wild fling - including (shock, horror) sex outside of marriage with a Japanese civilian, no less - was presumably a controversial theme when the film was released in 1976. However, the film doesn't really follow through on its controversial qualities, and instead contents itself with being a standard yarn of forbidden romance. York is fairly wooden as the Prince, though Aoki is sweetly vulnerable as his love interest. The scenes featuring Gray and Villiers - fretting hopelessly about whether the Prince will return in time for the ship's departure - provide some welcome comic relief. The film is beautifully shot by Henri Decae and has a lovely score by the under-used David Hentschel, but the drama is rarely convincing and the ultimate dilemma about which choice York will make - remain a Royal, or forsake it all in the name of love? - never really materialises into anything gripping. You should really care about what happens to these people, but you don't... it simply isn't particularly involving. And, as mentioned earlier, the assassination subplot is a laughable waste of time. Seven Nights is OK for what it is, a light and harmless romantic melodrama... but deeply affecting and heart-wrenching cinema it ain't. Lovely romantic British film that is far more like an update of Sigmund Romberg's The Student Prince than the American film Roman Holiday. It's too bad this is only available on Region 2 PAL DVD more Americans can enjoy it. Just seeing Michael York in his hay day is worth the price of admission, and next the lovely scenes of Japan. A gentle and worthwhile film, even if a bit risqu辿.
I liked the music too and the scenes with the little Japanese children. As with The Student Prince the ending is pretty predictable, the prince in love with the Japanese tour guide will probably have to give her up at the end, and marry an English maiden hand picked for him instead.
However stick it out because life is a journey, not just a destination.
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