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Skinny and Fatty (1958)
"Chibideka monogatari" (original title)

 |  Drama, Family  |  April 1965 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 93 users  
Reviews: 10 user

Two young Japanese schoolboys, one skinny and poor, one fat and well-to-do, become unlikely friends.



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Credited cast:
Y. Kataoka ...
H. Sha ...


A poignant children's film about Oyama, a new kid in school, who is teased for being fat until Komatsu shows him that he has to believe in himself. Komatsu's attempt to help Oyama master the rope climb in gym class is particularly memorable. Quite popular in the United States due to repeated showings on The CBS Children's Film Festival in the 1960s and 70s. Written by

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Family





Release Date:

April 1965 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Skinny and Fatty  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Remade as Chibideka monogatari (1978) See more »

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User Reviews

Quietly triumphant.
12 September 2005 | by (Minffordd, North Wales) – See all my reviews

This movie about the friendship between two Japanese schoolboys is intended for children, aged about eight or so ... about the same age as this movie's protagonists. Many western children might find this film alienating, as it's in Japanese (I viewed a print with English subtitles), the entire cast are Japanese ... and because the world of the 1950s is very different from our own world. An American child who watched this movie with me kept impatiently asking why the Japanese boys didn't have video games or anime.

IMDb's plot outline for this movie is accurate, except that the 'skinny' boy isn't actually skinny; his physique is normal. The new boy in class is Komatsu: he is very heavy-set, and straight away all the other boys (except Skinny) shun him and cry him 'Fatty'. When Skinny tries to make friends with Fatty, all of Skinny's shallow friends taunt him for befriending the fat boy. I found this story all too plausible.

The fat boy's parents have got more money than Skinny's family, so his friendship with Fatty enables Skinny to experience upper middle-class pleasures (such as a swimming pool) that he wouldn't have known on his tod. Eventually, Fatty begins to wonder whether Skinny likes him for himself or for material reasons. Meanwhile, Skinny feels a powerful peer-pressure from his schoolmates: in order to regain their approval, he'll have to betray Fatty. Again, I found this painfully plausible.

SLIGHT SPOILER NOW. The movie doesn't really have a climax, but there's a nice bit of business with one of those toys on a stick. I don't know what it's called; there's a ball at the end of a string tied to a stick, and a cup at one end of the stick. You've got to flip the stick just the right way so that the ball pops into the cup. (A correspondent has told me that this toy is named Kendama; I'll take his word for it.) Anyroad, one boy is able to use this plaything properly but the other boy isn't ... until the end of the movie. There's some beautifully stark photography as the two boys walk along in a large open area with a few skeletally leafless trees.

I found this movie to be a very accurate depiction of some of the more painful aspects of childhood, and for that reason watching this movie was more a painful experience for me than a pleasant one. The production budget is nil -- it's shot in documentary style -- but the movie does give some interesting views of urban Japan in the late 1950s. I'll rate this quietly triumphant movie 7 out of 10.

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A great movie from my childhood ithacajosh
Komatsu is the one known as "Skinny"...get it right... ccladue-968-316401
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