7.4/10
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27 user 35 critic

Ikimono no kiroku (1955)

An aging, industrialist Japanese man becomes so fearful of nuclear war that it begins to take a toll on his life and family.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Kiichi Nakajima
...
Domestic Court Counselor Dr. Harada
...
Jiro Nakajima
Eiko Miyoshi ...
Toyo Nakajima
Kyôko Aoyama ...
Sue Nakajima
Haruko Tôgô ...
Yoshi Nakajima
Noriko Sengoku ...
Kimie Nakajima
...
Asako Kuribayashi
Hiroshi Tachikawa ...
Ryoichi Sayama
Kichijirô Ueda ...
Mr. Kuribayashi father
...
Old man from Brazil
Yutaka Sada ...
Ichiro Nakajima
...
Okamoto
Ken Mitsuda ...
Judge Araki
Masao Shimizu ...
Yamazaki, Yoshi's husband (as Gen Shimizu)
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Storyline

Kiichi Nakajima, an elderly foundry owner, is so frightened and obsessed with the idea of nuclear extermination that his family decides to have him ruled incompetent. Nakajima's fervent wish is for his family to join him in escaping from Japan to the relative safety of South America. Harada, a civil volunteer in the case, sympathizes with Nakajima's conviction, but the old man's irrational behaviour prevents the court from taking his fears seriously. Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

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Release Date:

25 January 1967 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

What the Birds Knew  »

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The original Japanese title, "Ikimono no kiroku," is literally translated into "Record of A Living Being." See more »

Connections

Referenced in Hachi-gatsu no rapusodî (1991) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Somewhat underrated
5 November 2005 | by (Spokane, WA) – See all my reviews

Based on reviews I had read, I was expecting either a facile ban-the-bomb message film, or a story about greedy relatives trying to have an old man committed so they can get his money.

I should have known better. Part of Kurosawa's genius in his great middle period (1950-1965) is that he refuses to insist on anything. He fairly presents a series of events and invites us to decide what, if anything, they mean.

Everyone in this film has a point. No one here is really a villain. Even those who are jerks (notably the second son, Jiro) are really trying to do the right thing. And the film reminds me a little of THE CAINE MUTINY in that it very artfully moves our sympathies in one direction for most of the film before presenting us with events that make us wonder if we were wrong.

Toshiro Mifune gives a fine performance as Nakajima, but to tell the truth, I wish Kurosawa had given the role to Takashi Shimura, not only because I think Shimura would have played the role even better, but because it would have given him one more tour-de-force leading role in a Kurosawa film, coming directly after IKIRU and SEVEN SAMURAI. Granted, though, that such a move probably would have caused problems with both Toho and Mifune.


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