Saturday, March 23, 2013

Where are you now, Chico Roland?

CHICO ROLAND boasts one of the most remarkable stories for a film star.
In America, Arthur Lourant reportedly worked in his cousin's dry-cleaning business in Los Angeles. In Japan, Lourant was one of the busiest actors of the 1960s under the stage name "Chico Roland."
Roland appeared in numerous Japanese films and television shows throughout the 1960s.
According to a 1963 profile in "Ebony," Roland was a jobless, discharged veteran of the Korean Conflict who parlayed a passable resemblance to Sidney Poitier into a career as an actor in Japan.
The profile reports Roland spoke seven languages and approached Japanese dialogue in a unique manner: He wrote his dialogue in Romanji (the Japanese phonetic spelling), memorized it in Spanish, then spoke it in Japanese.
This morning, I watched him starring with TAMIO KAWAJI in KOREYOSHI KURAHARA'S 1964 film, "KUROI TAIYO (BLACK SUN)."
Roland plays an AWOL G.I. accused of murdering another American.
On the lam and wounded, he holds Kawaji's jazz-obsessed squatter hostage, until the pair eventually form an unlikely alliance of outcast and fugitive.
There's not much information about Lourant/Roland online -- just references to the "Ebony" profile and a newspaper story about a man named "Arthur Lourant" accused of assault on a school bus in Tucson, Ariz.
I doubt this Lourant is the Japanese film actor.
It appears that Lourant has receded into Japanese film history, only to fleetingly emerge on DVDs.


Blogger Mike Greenberg said...

A Google search also found a 1963 story about Lourant/Roland in his hometown newspaper, Tucson Daily Citizen. He apparently is still living there.

11:26 PM  
Blogger Marisa Bowe said...

I just watched that crazy movie and now I'm curious about him , too! Thanks to Google for leading me here.

10:45 PM  
Blogger The Great American Photo Blog said...

Hi Marisa… same thing happened to us this very evening… Chico Roland looks nothing like Potier although his accent is a dead-ringer for him! Crazy movie! Thanks to the Hogman for posting this…

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