Shûbun (1950)

Approved  |   |  Drama  |  17 July 1964 (USA)
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Reviews: 21 user | 37 critic

A celebrity photograph sparks a court case as a tabloid magazine spins a scandalous yarn over a painter and a famous singer.


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Shirley Yamaguchi ...
Miyako Saijo (as Yoshiko Yamaguchi)
Yôko Katsuragi ...
Masako Hiruta
Noriko Sengoku ...
Eitarô Ozawa ...
Otokichi Hiruta
Shin'ichi Himori ...
Editor Asai
Ichirô Shimizu ...
Fumiko Okamura ...
Miyako's mother
Masao Shimizu ...
Tanie Kitabayashi ...
Yasu Hiruta
Sugisaku Aoyama ...
Dr. Kataoka
Kokuten Kôdô ...
Old Man A
Kichijirô Ueda ...
Old Man B
Bokuzen Hidari ...


Famous singer Miyako Saijo, who is publicity shy, and motorbiking artist Ichirô Aoye, who has minor celebrity, meet by chance in Kappazawa while Ichirô is on a painting expedition, and Miyako is on a retreat. As she has missed her bus to Kaminoyu and as Ichirô is heading there anyway, he offers her a ride to the resort where both of them are staying and which is largely empty as it is the off season. As he visits her in her room solely as a measure of friendship and camaraderie, they are unaware that a paparazzo working for scandal sheet Amour has taken a photograph of the two of them together on her balcony. Hori, Amour's publisher, decides to print the photograph along with an accompanying salacious story on what could have happened based on the photograph, but which is a total fabrication. Hori has done such before with other celebrities, never having been sued as he believes his subjects either like the publicity or are too busy or scared to take action. A libel suit he feels will... Written by Huggo

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Release Date:

17 July 1964 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Escándalo  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


The story for the film was inspired by real events from Japanese tabloids writing things about celebrities; specifically a famous actress. Akira Kurosawa wrote about the nameless actress in his autobiography, saying "I reacted as if the thing had been said about me" describing the tabloid as using a "weapon of publicity" against someone. See more »


Silent Night, Holy Night
Music by Franz Gruber
Sung at the Christmas gathering
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User Reviews

The Least Interesting Kurosawa Film I Have Seen So Far
21 July 2008 | by (Cincinnati, OH, United States) – See all my reviews

Kurosawa's Scandal is thus far my least favorite of all of his films. It tells the most kindergarten of yarns: Two celebrities accidentally meet during a holiday staying at the same hotel. In an easily misunderstood situation each other, tabloid photographers seek revenge on them for rejecting interviews by taking a picture of them and fabricating a love story about them. There is a scandal, and a lawsuit eventually battles the paparazzi. Despite Kurosawa's message pertaining to the post-war Americanization of Japan in terms of the media, could a single pop culture magazine dominate the entire media the way it's depicted to in the story?

The narrative is so clearcut and unsurprising with its message-obsessed subject, the good guys are practically perfect with complete humility and no character flaws and the bad guys are cocky jerks with no redeemable values.

It's not a terrible film, however. It is, after all, directed by Akira Kurosawa who, aside from showcasing an obvious scenario about the shrewdly dishonest media, explores the Japanese cultural perception of weakness. Weakness is something intolerable in Japanese culture, yet good enough people can understand a naturally weak person. Weakness is an organic part of someone. It comes from sensitivity, feelings of inferiority, harsh luck, all of which the character of the lawyer has, and as hard as it is for the surrounding characters to do, they understand it when he gives into weakness.

I prefer the last half of the movie by a landslide because it becomes more about the lawyer wrestling with his own guilt. It's a story that would never be found in an American film because of the cultural differences and how bound to accords the Japanese feel.

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