5.8/10
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The Most Beautiful (1944)

Ichiban utsukushiku (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama | June 1987 (USA)
World War II propaganda film about female volunteer workers at an optics plant who do their best to meet production targets.

Director:

Akira Kurosawa

Writer:

Akira Kurosawa
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Takashi Shimura ... Chief Goro Ishida
Sôji Kiyokawa Sôji Kiyokawa ... Soichi Yoshikawa, Chief of General Affairs Section
Ichirô Sugai ... Ken Shinda, Chief of Labor Section
Takako Irie Takako Irie ... Noriko Mizushima, dorm mother
Yôko Yaguchi Yôko Yaguchi ... Tsuru Watanabe, president of women workers
Sayuri Tanima Sayuri Tanima ... Yuriko Tanimura, vice president of the women workers
Sachiko Ozaki Sachiko Ozaki ... Sachiko Yamazaki
Shizuko Nishigaki Shizuko Nishigaki ... Fusae Nishioka
Asako Suzuki Asako Suzuki ... Asako Suzumura
Haruko Toyama Haruko Toyama ... Masako Koyama
Aiko Masu Aiko Masu ... Tokiko Hiroda
Kazuko Hitomi Kazuko Hitomi ... Kazuko Futomi
Shizuko Yamada Shizuko Yamada ... Hisae Yamaguchi
Itoko Kôno Itoko Kôno ... Sue Okabe
Toshiko Hattori Toshiko Hattori ... Toshiko Hattori
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Storyline

During World War II, the management of a war industry of optical instruments for weapons requests an effort from the workers to increase the productivity during four months. The target for male workers is an increase of 100% of the production, but the female workers, led by the dedicated Tsuru Watanabe, ask the direction to surpass their goal from 50% to 70%. During the period, the women have to overcome illness and their personal problems to complete their quota. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Japan

Language:

Japanese

Release Date:

June 1987 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Most Beautiful See more »

Filming Locations:

Toho Studios, Tokyo, Japan

Company Credits

Production Co:

Toho Company See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Akira Kurosawa married actress 'Yoko Yaguchi' (born Kiyo Kato), who played Tsuru in "The Most Beautiful," after becoming close through many famed arguments during filming. They married on May 21, 1945 while Yaguchi was two months pregnant, and stayed together until her death in 1985. See more »

Connections

Referenced in El conejo blanco: Warped to Hiroshima!! (2015) See more »

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User Reviews

Valuable as insight into the supreme pliability of human beings
27 March 2010 | by Local HeroSee all my reviews

Typical of Japanese war-time propaganda, the film suggests that Japan's fascist ideology, its inculcation of fanatical obedience, its vast perpetration of unthinkable atrocities in a systematic manner, and its aggressive military expansionism can all be replaced by Japan's supposed victimization. Rather telling in this respect is the song that the girls repeatedly sing to boost morale, a song that recalls that barbarian Mongol conquerors once tried to invade Japan from China, but that the perpetrators of such heinous deeds of aggression could not possibly co-exist under the same sky with the innocent and pure Japanese-- this, of course, is being sung during a war that was begun when an utterly unprovoked Japan invaded China and slaughtered untold numbers of its population mercilessly.

All of this would be something that one could simply shrug off as the past blindness of war, but films such as these are more disturbing today than, say, Triumph of the Will because while Germany was forced to confront the horrors it had unleashed upon the world, most Japanese films even today (and textbooks for that matter) still tend to view Japan as a victim in the war (see, for instance, Kurosawa's own Rhapsody in August so many decades later). Assisted by the policies of the American post-war occupation, Japan has never had to come to terms with what it did to the planet, and what in human history can possibly more disturbing than a lack of accountability for the worst sins humanity can commit? And by the way, I say all of this despite the fact that Kurosawa is probably my favorite director.


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