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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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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

Remade as Zangiku monogatari (1956) See more »

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User Reviews

Possibly Mizoguchi's finest pre-war film
30 July 2002 | by See all my reviews

Along with "Sisters of the Gion"(1936) and "Osaka Elegy"(1936), "Zangiku monogatari" is a strong candidate for Kenji Mizoguchi's finest pre-war film. It is one of the greatest and most beautiful films I have ever seen - a profoundly sublime, heartbreaking love story between a Kabuki actor(Shotaro Hanayagi) and working class servant (Kakuko Mori) who makes sacrifices to herself to ensure his theatrical success. The film, filled with dazzling long takes and rich Sternbergian compositions, centers on Mizoguchi's characteristic theme: the shallowness of men and the generosity of women. Rarely has a Mizoguchi film seem at once so sublime and devastating in its impact. The final sequence alone is among the finest in all of cinema.

My favorite Mizoguchi remains "The Life of Oharu"(1952); "Zangiku monogatari" is not very far behind.


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