7.9/10
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11 user 33 critic

The Story of the Last Chrysanthemum (1939)

Zangiku monogatari (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama, Romance | 15 January 1979 (USA)
The adopted son of a legendary actor, and an aspiring star himself, turns to his infant brother's wet nurse for support and affection - only for her to give up everything for her beloved's glory.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Kikunosuke Onoue
Kôkichi Takada ... Fukusuke Nakamura
Ryôtarô Kawanami ... Eiju Dayu
Kinnosuke Takamatsu ... Matsusuke Onoue
Jun'nosuke Hayama ... Kanya Morita
Tamitaro Onoue ... Tamizô Onoue
Ichirô Yûki ... Guest in waiting room
Kômei Minami ... Shintomi greenroom manager
Jin'ichi Amano ... Shintomi's onnagata
Haruo Inoue ... Actor
Sumao Ishihara ... Manager of the travelling company
Kô Hirota ... Greenroom manager of the travelling company
Minpei Tomimoto ... Guest in waiting room
Eijirô Hose ... Travelling actor
Nobuko Fushimi ... Eiryû, a geisha
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Storyline

In Tokyo in 1888, Kikunosuke Onoue, the adoptive son of an important actor, discovers that he is praised for his acting only because he is his father's heir, and that the troupe complains how bad he is behind his back. The only person to talk to him honestly about his acting is Otoku, the wet-nurse of his adoptive father's child. She is fired by the family, and Kikunosuke is forbidden to see her, because of the gossip a relationship with a servant would cause. Kikunosuke falls in love with Otoku, and leaves home to try to make a living on his own merits outside Tokyo. He is eventually joined by Otoku, who encourages him to become a famous actor to regain the recognition of his family. Written by Will Gilbert

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Plot Keywords:

actor | acting | love | wet nurse | truth | See All (33) »

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

15 January 1979 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Story of the Last Chrysanthemum  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Kenji Mizoguchi: The Life of a Film Director (1975) See more »

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User Reviews

 
a very hard film to rate
18 December 2005 | by See all my reviews

I wish I spoke fluent Japanese--then I am sure I could have enjoyed the movie so much more. That's because this movie had horrible subtitles and often sentences or more were simply left untranslated or 50 words in Japanese were distilled down to only 3 or 4 words. In essence, the translators were very lazy and did a terrible job. Some might not mind this, but since I am a very avid fan of Japanese films it seriously detracted from the experience. This does NOT mean it is unwatchable or you should avoid it. In fact, if anyone knows of a better version available to Western audiences, let me know.

The plot itself seems very familiar and is reminiscent of some other films, as its main ideas are respect for your elders and unrequited love. The main character is madly in love with his step-brother's nursemaid and the family strongly opposes it. I don't really think I need to divulge more but felt that the actors did a fine job and the story itself was interesting.

UPDATE: There is a new DVD version from Criterion and I assume it's much better than the DVD I saw. Criterion always seems to do good jobs with subtitles on their film releases.


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