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The Idiot (1951)

Hakuchi (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama , Romance | 30 April 1963 (USA)
A Japanese veteran, driven partially mad from the war, travels to the snowy island of Kameda where he soon enters a love triangle with his best friend and a disgraced woman.

Director:

Akira Kurosawa
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Setsuko Hara ... Taeko Nasu
Masayuki Mori ... Kinji Kameda
Toshirô Mifune ... Denkichi Akama
Yoshiko Kuga ... Ayako
Takashi Shimura ... Ono, Ayako's father
Chieko Higashiyama ... Satoko, Ayako's mother
Eijirô Yanagi Eijirô Yanagi ... Tohata
Minoru Chiaki ... Mutsuo Kayama, the secretary
Noriko Sengoku Noriko Sengoku ... Takako
Kokuten Kôdô ... Jumpei
Bokuzen Hidari ... Karube
Eiko Miyoshi Eiko Miyoshi ... Madame Kayama
Chiyoko Fumiya Chiyoko Fumiya ... Noriko
Mitsuyo Akashi Mitsuyo Akashi ... Madame Akama
Daisuke Inoue Daisuke Inoue ... Kaoru
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Storyline

Kameda, who has been in an asylum on Okinawa, travels to Hokkaido. There he becomes involved with two women, Taeko and Ayako. Taeko comes to love Kameda, but is loved in turn by Akama. When Akama realizes that he will never have Taeko, his thoughts turn to murder, and great tragedy ensues. Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Japan

Language:

Japanese

Release Date:

30 April 1963 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Idiot See more »

Filming Locations:

Hokkaido, Japan

Company Credits

Production Co:

Shôchiku Eiga See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (premiere) | (original)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

Akira Kurosawa in his autobiography describes this film - which was heavily edited from the director's original four-hour-and-twenty-six-minute version, by order of the studio, Shochiku - as "ruinous" to his career. Upon release, reviews of this film in the Japanese press were, according to Kurosawa, universally "scathing." ("It was as if [the reviews] were a mirror reflection of the studio's attitude toward me," he writes.) Not surprisingly, therefore, in the annual Kinema Junpo critics' poll for films released in 1951, The Idiot (1951) appears way down in the list, ranked at #18. Of all twenty five Japanese-language films that Kurosawa released from the end of the Second World War to the end of his career, this film is the only one that failed to place within the "Best Ten" list of films in the Kinema Junpo poll of its release year. In fact, it has been claimed that only the immense popularity of the film's star, Setsuko Hara, prevented the film from being a complete commercial disaster. See more »

Quotes

Mutsuo Kayama, the secretary: What could be so frightening about that idiot?
See more »

Connections

Version of Jinsei no uramichi (1929) See more »

Soundtracks

A Night on Bald Mountain
(uncredited)
Music by Modest Mussorgsky
Played during the ice carnival
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Difficult but worth seeing
26 April 2004 | by jonr-3See all my reviews

I wonder if the original 265-minute version (see "trivia") will ever be released on DVD? It seems to me that out of respect for Mr. Kurosawa, arguably the greatest filmmaker who's ever lived, it should be done if at all possible. If only I were a billionaire...

I found the film very difficult to follow, probably in part because of the extensive cutting (which is obvious in a few places), but also because, to my shame, I've never read the Dostoevski novel, though I started on it many years ago.

But the film is worth watching, despite the considerable difficulties it may pose, if only for the extraordinary--I won't say acting, but perhaps PRESENCE will do--of Toshiro Mifune, and the very fine acting by virtually all the other cast members. And of course for the magnificent visual compositions by this unsurpassable master of film, Akira Kurosawa.

And perhaps most important: for the moral tone of the film. I reverence Kurosawa not only for his amazing skill, but above all for his moral preoccupation. Without being preachy, in film after film he reminds us of the things that are really important in our lives and in our relationships with others. Very few filmmakers seem, especially nowadays, to care about that. I believe Kurosawa was a master not only of film but of life itself.


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