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The Life of Oharu (1952)
"Saikaku ichidai onna" (original title)

 -  Drama  -  20 April 1964 (USA)
8.0
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Ratings: 8.0/10 from 3,059 users  
Reviews: 21 user | 49 critic

The tale of a 17th century samurai's daughter.

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Title: The Life of Oharu (1952)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Tsukie Matsuura ...
Tomo, Oharu's Mother
Ichirô Sugai ...
Shinzaemon, Oharu's Father
...
Katsunosuke
Toshiaki Konoe ...
Lord Harutaka Matsudaira
Kiyoko Tsuji ...
Landlady
Hisako Yamane ...
Lady Matsudaira
Jûkichi Uno ...
Yakichi Ogiya
Eitarô Shindô ...
Kahe Sasaya
Akira Ôizumi ...
Fumikichi, Sasaya's Friend
Kyôko Kusajima ...
Sodegaki
Masao Shimizu ...
Kikuoji
Daisuke Katô ...
Tasaburo Hishiya
Toranosuke Ogawa ...
Yoshioka
Hiroshi Oizumi ...
Manager Bunkichi
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Storyline

A fifty-year-old prostitute, no longer able to attract men, looks back on her sad life. Once a lady-in-waiting at the imperial court at Kyoto, Oharu fell in love with, and became the lover of, a man below her station. They were discovered, and Oharu and her family were exiled. For Oharu there followed a life filled with one sorrow and humiliation after another. Written by George S. Davis <mgeorges@prodigy.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

20 April 1964 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Saikaku ichidai onna  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film, which was director Kenji Mizoguchi's dream project, was severely under-financed, and the production was forced to use a warehouse instead of a regular sound stage. This warehouse happened to be located near railways, and each time a train passed by, they had to stop shooting, which made the shooting of the film even more difficult with the director's obsessive use of long, continuous, uninterrupted takes. The same warehouse was also used for Josef Von Sternberg's film 'The Saga of Anatahan'. See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits shown over Japanese artwork/water-colors. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Gossip Girl: The Empire Strikes Jack (2010) See more »

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User Reviews

 
a masterpiece
1 April 2005 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

I cannot agree with the reviewer who commented that Mizoguchi does not have the aesthetic sensibility of Kurosawa or Ozu. In fact, he appears to me to be the true master of Japanese cinema. 'Oharu' is a marvellous achievement - a compassionate, beautiful account of a quite astonishing fall from privilege and grace into destitution and despair. It is unremittingly bleak and yet due to Mizoguchi's genius and Kinuyo Tanaka's luminous portrayal of the unlucky Oharu, it is a spiritually compelling work, with sheer artistry and simple human empathy competing for our attention in every take. Breathtaking film-making of the highest quality.


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