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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 2,280 users  
Reviews: 16 user | 39 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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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
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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:

 »
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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

Kenichi Komatsu, the manager: [Scolding Keiko] Stop being so emotional. This is a bar. People pay to have a good time.
Keiko Yashiro: So what?
Kenichi Komatsu, the manager: Listen to me! You get paid to show men a good time. If you don't like it, take off that kimono and work in an office... and starve!
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Very, very sad....
6 December 2012 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

While "When a Woman Ascends the Stairs" may lack the excitement of many Japanese films, I really enjoyed it and felt it rather profound...as well as profoundly sad. It's the story of a woman, Mama, who has worked as a hostess in a Ginza bar for some time and she longs to leave the life. After all, her job is to be nice to men who come to the bar and get them to drink as well as get them to buy her drinks. It isn't much of a life and the long hours and drinking take their toll. However, despite hating the life, she also tries to uphold her standards and, unlike some hostesses, she doesn't sleep with her clients. But there are many pressures to do so--especially since the job really doesn't pay well. Plus, sleeping with one of these men might enable her to have enough money to buy a place of her own and have a bit of security. But, for every step forward she takes, there is yet another setback. Can she somehow forge a better life for herself before it is too late? While a film about quiet desperation is probably NOT everyone's cup of tea, the film was written, acted and directed exceptionally well. It de-glamorizes these women and helps create a sense of empathy for them--particularly Mama, who the audience can't help but like. Well done.


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