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The Stranger Within a Woman (1966)

Onna no naka ni iru tanin (original title)
Two friends meet in a bar. Later that night, one friend's flirtatious wife is reportedly in an accident. The other friend doesn't feel well. What's come over him?

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Keiju Kobayashi ...
...
Mitsuko Kusabue ...
Yumiko Kato
...
...
Daisuke Katô
Toshio Kurosawa ...
Bartender
Hisao Toake
Yû Fujiki
Chieko Nakakita
Hisaya Itô
Yasuzô Ogawa
Atsuko Ichinomiya
Haruo Suzuki
Chieko Seki
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Storyline

Tashiro (Keiju Kobayashi) coincidentally meets his best friend Sugimoto (Tatsuya Mihashi) in a bar very close to the apartment in which Sugimoto's wayward wife is found dead. Although Tashiro is not a suspect in the police investigation, he is racked with guilt and confesses to his wife, Masako (Michiyo Aratama). In an effort to further relieve his tortured sense of guilt, he then confesses to Sugimoto. Neither his wife nor his friend can believe that he could have been involved.

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Genres:

Crime | Drama

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Release Date:

July 1967 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Thin Line  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Version of Just Before Nightfall (1971) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Trouble in the family
13 June 2005 | by (New England) – See all my reviews

Onna no naka ni iru tanin / The Stranger Within a Woman (Mikio NARUSE, 1966)

Although Naruse demonstrated mastery of both color and cinemascope in his 60s films, he reverted to black-and-white Academy format for his antepenultimate film. Perhaps this use of a conservative format was intended to counterbalance the fact that this film involves the most shocking plot of any Naruse film to date.

Again the film focuses on an ostensibly normal family father (plauyed by Keiju Kobayashi), mother (Michiyo Aratama) and two adorable young children. Tragedy strikes the family of their best friends (Tatsuya Mihashi and Mitsuko Kusabue) soon after the film begins, the wife of this childless couple is found murdered in her bed. Through flashbacks and confessions, it is gradually revealed that Kobayashi and Kusabue were carrying on an affair and that she enjoyed "rough sex" (which one day went too far, ending in her accidental death). Aratama's goal is too keep her husband from confessing, and ruining the family's honor and comfortable middle-class existence. He, however, is subject to ever-increasing throes of guilt and remorse. Aratama is left with the dilemma of what to do....

This film is as visually striking as it is sensational in terms of plot. Despite the out-of-the-ordinary subject matter, Naruse typically tends to downplay any sense of hysteria treating the events almost as if they depict just another little slice of ordinary suburban life. A fascinating film albeit more reminiscent of Nomura's work than of the "typical" Naruse film.


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