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When a Woman Ascends the Stairs (1960)
"Onna ga kaidan wo agaru toki" (original title)

Not Rated  |   |  Drama  |  25 June 1963 (USA)
8.2
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Ratings: 8.2/10 from 2,330 users  
Reviews: 16 user | 40 critic

A middle-aged bar hostess, constantly in debt, is faced with numerous social constraints and challenges posed to her by her family, customers and friends.

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Edit

Cast

Credited cast:
...
Keiko Yashiro
...
Nobuhiko Fujisaki
Reiko Dan ...
Junko Inchihashi
...
Kenichi Komatsu, the manager
Daisuke Katô ...
Matsukichi Sekine
Ganjirô Nakamura ...
Goda
Eitarô Ozawa ...
Minobe
Keiko Awaji ...
Yuri
Jun Tatara
Yû Fujiki
Masao Oda
Ken Mitsuda
Chikako Hosokawa
Sadako Sawamura
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Toshiko Higuchi
Edit

Storyline

This is the story of Mama, a.k.a. Keiko, a middle-aged bar hostess who must choose to either get married or buy a bar of her own. Her family hounds her for money, her customers for her attention, and she is continually in debt. The life of a bar hostess is examined as well as the way in which the system traps and sometimes kills those in it. Written by PastaQueen

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

bar | money | bar hostess | widow | ginza | See All (12) »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

25 June 1963 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

When a Woman Ascends the Stairs  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Perspecta Sound encoding) (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Quotes

Goda: How old are you, anyway?
Keiko Yashiro: Don't ask. Old enough.
Goda: Thirty? That's the turning point in a woman's life. The time to decide whether to marry... or open your own bar.
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User Reviews

 
A story of a brave woman...
20 August 2001 | by (Los Angeles) – See all my reviews

Keiko, also known as mama, is one of those truly unforgettable characters who you swear must exist somewhere out there in the real world. She is both strong, graceful and intelligent. This film has an outstanding lead and supporting cast, and ofcourse a great story centering on the day by day account of the life of a bar woman who struggles to maintain her pride. Don't worry, this movie's initially slow pace blossoms with enough twists and surprises to captivate and reward modern viewers.

Other characters to compare Keiko to is Junko, a much younger bar girl, who manages to work the system to her financial advantage. Komatsu, Keiko's manager, a young man smitten by Keiko's enchanting beauty and is reduced to just imagining a future alongside his beloved. Both Junko and Komatsu's youth prove to be of great contrast to Keiko and her wisdom of thiry years. Unlike Keiko, Junko can imagine and realize her simple but dead end dream of opening a bar in exchange for her dignity. Komatsu's wishes are as empty as his hands as he plays bartender in a run down club. He, alongside other people who are part of Keiko's life will slowly switch roles from friends, patrons and protector, Komatsu, into those who will contribute to the torture in Keiko's life. Just as rice was the center of Seven Samurai, money is the heart of this film. Ultimately, the heroine can rise above everything, everyone and ascend the stairs to Bar Carton again.


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