23 user 38 critic

Scandal (1950)

Shûbun (original title)
Approved | | Drama | 17 July 1964 (USA)
A celebrity photograph sparks a court case as a tabloid magazine spins a scandalous yarn over a painter and a famous singer.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
... Ichirô Aoye
... Miyako Saijo (as Yoshiko Yamaguchi)
Yôko Katsuragi ... Masako Hiruta
Noriko Sengoku ... Sumie
Eitarô Ozawa ... Hori
... Otokichi Hiruta
... Editor Asai
Ichirô Shimizu ... Arai
Fumiko Okamura ... Miyako's mother
Masao Shimizu ... Judge
Tanie Kitabayashi ... Yasu Hiruta
Sugisaku Aoyama ... Dr. Kataoka
... Old Man A
Kichijirô Ueda ... Old Man B
... Drunk


Famous singer Miyako Saijo, who is publicity shy, and motorbiking artist Ichirô Aoye, who has minor celebrity, meet by chance in Kappazawa while Ichirô is on a painting expedition, and Miyako is on a retreat. As she has missed her bus to Kaminoyu and as Ichirô is heading there anyway, he offers her a ride to the resort where both of them are staying and which is largely empty as it is the off season. As he visits her in her room solely as a measure of friendship and camaraderie, they are unaware that a paparazzo working for scandal sheet Amour has taken a photograph of the two of them together on her balcony. Hori, Amour's publisher, decides to print the photograph along with an accompanying salacious story on what could have happened based on the photograph, but which is a total fabrication. Hori has done such before with other celebrities, never having been sued as he believes his subjects either like the publicity or are too busy or scared to take action. A libel suit he feels will... Written by Huggo

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Release Date:

17 July 1964 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Scandal  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


The character Hiruta was, as Kurosawa later recollected, based on a man he met in a bar in the early 1940's who had very similar characteristics and personal issues. See more »


Jingle Bells
Music by James Pierpont
Played when Ichiro is transporting the Christmas tree on his motorcycle
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User Reviews

almost in spite of some sappy melodrama here and there, Scandal is a very good success
22 February 2008 | by See all my reviews

Scandal reveals an Akira Kurosawa who was passionate about a topic and wanted to reveal it through his view of "fiction", which was closer to reality than some might have realized. Kurosawa was in the midst of a scandal before making the picture, linked to an actress while also married and with a few kids at home. It was a smear tactic that he hated, and decided to put all of his anger into a "message" movie where a 'yellow' journalist's rag (titled, amusingly, Amour which means love), and how a painter (Mifune) and a singer (Yamaguchi) get caught in the cross-hairs of a scandal via out-of-context picture of the two of them. Kurosawa sets up a situation that could potentially become hazardous territory: no matter how much he can use cinematic tricks out of journalism dramas, with the fast flashes of newspapers and the dynamic editing with each side delivering their sides of the situation to the press, it could potentially become preachy as the Amour editor is shown as truly corrupt and evil with his power as a cheap exploitation peddler.

But enter in Takashi Shimura's character and things seem to even out, wonderfully in fact, as he plays a small-time and weak-willed lawyer with a weak-in-body-not-in-spirit daughter who has TB. He becomes more of the emotional lynch-pin of the film than anyone else, as he has a true crisis of conscience, leaving him with a facial expression throughout like the one Shimura also had for those scenes wandering around the bars in Ikiru. He took bad money, a bribe, and he is not the sort who can live with it easily. He drinks, he rants how much of a scoundrel he is, and then even tries to push it down by crying for the stars, and (a great scene) where he sings "auld lang sign" on Christmas night with everyone in a restaurant. In a sense, Shimura is Kurosawa's wild card, a part of his film that works in every scene (Shimura, aside from Mifune, was Kurosawa's most crucial acting collaborator), undercutting certain moments just with the look on his face, the sad glare in his eyes with the total burden of everything he's throwing to the "devil".

When Kurosawa is at his strongest with Scandal, he crafts a view of reality that is just a touch surreal, a touch into what should be closed-and-shut, and through his form of entertainment (including his usual tricks of editing wipes and sublime compositions), which is incendiary while not really being as preachy as one might think. If anything, like La Dolce Vita, Kurosawa is prophetic with his view of tabloid journalism, with the only difference being reaction: whereas today a "scandal" of a photo with a celebrity in a picture with another celebrity as if in a relationship is brushed off as just gossip, Kurosawa's view is more pessimistic. There can't be a manner of exploitation with people's lives such as this. The only error Kurosawa then makes with his execution of the material comes in the subplot of sorts with the lawyer's daughter- here it does become sappy, like a Tiny Tim type of character who's meant to have a glow around her as a pure soul. Not a bad idea, but it's not pulled off with the same quality of the rest of the film.

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