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The Idiot (1951)
"Hakuchi" (original title)

 -  Drama  -  30 April 1963 (USA)
7.5
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 2,609 users  
Reviews: 26 user | 25 critic

A Japanese veteran, driven partially mad from the war, travels to the snowy island of Kameda where he soon enters a love triangle with his best friend and a disgraced woman.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Taeko Nasu
...
Kinji Kameda
...
Denkichi Akama
...
Ayako
...
Ono, Ayako's father
Chieko Higashiyama ...
Satoko, Ayako's mother
Eijirô Yanagi ...
Tohata
Minoru Chiaki ...
Mutsuo Kayama, the secretary
Noriko Sengoku ...
Takako
Kuninori Kôdô ...
Jumpei
Bokuzen Hidari ...
Karube
Eiko Miyoshi ...
Madame Kayama
Chiyoko Fumiya ...
Noriko
Mitsuyo Akashi ...
Madame Akama
Daisuke Inoue ...
Kaoru
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Storyline

Kameda, who has been in an asylum on Okinawa, travels to Hokkaido. There he becomes involved with two women, Taeko and Ayako. Taeko comes to love Kameda, but is loved in turn by Akama. When Akama realizes that he will never have Taeko, his thoughts turn to murder, and great tragedy ensues. Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

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Details

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Language:

Release Date:

30 April 1963 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Idiot  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (premiere) | (extended)

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Filmed as a two-part production running 265 minutes. Shochiku (the studio) told Akira Kurosawa that the film had to be cut in half, because it was too long; he told them, "In that case, better cut it lengthwise." The film was released truncated at 166 minutes. See more »

Connections

Version of The Idiot (1966) See more »

Soundtracks

Oh How We Danced
(uncredited)
aka "The Anniversary Song"
Written by Al Jolson and Saul Chaplin
Playing on the music box when Ayako and Kamada visit Taeko and Akama
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A beautiful series of set pieces
1 May 2002 | by (Scottsdale, AZ) – See all my reviews

Masayuki Mori, the slain husband from Roshomon, is fantastic as Kameda, a pure and simple, yet insightful, man who remains mentally frail after recovering from a breakdown. The film chronicles his relationships with two very different women, both in love with him, and with the volatile and violent Akama, a perfect part for Toshiro Mifune. Prior to reading the novel, I found the plot disjointed and difficult to follow. I think this film is best appreciated as a series of set pieces. The interaction among the players in each scene is completely absorbing as Kameda, through his passivity and selflessness, elicits a whole range of emotions from the rest of the cast. Minoru Chiaki, the woodchopper samurai from Seven Samurai, has a small but absolutely riveting role.

The 2003 Russian miniseries by Vladimire Bortko, at nearly 10 hours, captures far more of Dostoyevski's novel than does this film. However, somehow, Kurosawa has been able to capture the essence of the novel. It's a shame that over an hour was cut from the film and is now lost.

Setsuko Hara is tremendous as the "Natassya" character from the novel and Chieko Higashiyama as the "Lizaveta" character. Both are regulars from Ozu films but its unusual to find them together in Kurosawa.

If you have read the novel, you won't have any trouble following the story, even though it has been transposed from czarist Russia to Post-WW II Japan. If you don't know the story, just enjoy the incredible acting and direction of Kurosawa.


5 of 7 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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