and White . 71 minutes
Shochiku Ofuna Studio
Ozu Yasujiro ('James Maki')
Kurishima Sumiko (Tokiko)
Saito Tatsuo (Komiya)
Kuwano Kayoko (Setsuko)
Sano Shuji (Okada)
Sakamoto Takeshi (Sugiyama)
Iida Choko (Chiyoko)
Uehara Ken (Himself)
Yoshikawa Mitsuko (Mitsuko)
Hayama Masao (Fujio)
Tokkan Kozo (Tomio)
The lives of hen-pecked Professor Komiya and his
socialite wife Tokiko are turned upside down when
their spoilt niece Setsuko comes to stay with
them for Osaka. Setsuko discovers Komiya lying
to Tokiko about going off to play golf when in
fact he's gone to a Ginza bar. She follows him
and insists on being taken to a geisha house.
When their conspiracy backfires, Setsuko incites
Komiya to teach her overbearing aunt a lesson.
Komiya slaps Tokiko. However, to Tokiko's disappointment,
he soon apologizes, but Tokiko is charmed by his
manliness. On a date with Komiya's student Okada
negotiates how they will treat each other once
Thoughts from Ozu
A special feature of this film is the location
which has shifted from the shitamachi (downtown
quarter) common to my previous films to the area
along the Yamanote line. Incidentally, I moved
house from Fukagawa to Takanawa Minamicho, but
that was not the reason for setting my film in
this area. It was pointed out that relatively
few films took place there, and it is still the
case with movies now, though films set in shitamachi
or the suburbs are so common.
37th film, shot from January to February 1937.
After the completion of The Only Son, Ozu
planned to make a film with the title What
a Cheerful Guy, This is Mr. Yasukichi (Tanoshiki
kana Yasukichi-kun). However, Ozu abandoned
this story of an old office worker who becomes
insane, because there were objections to making
it after the dark and hopeless The Only Son.
Finally, it was transferred to the director Uchida
Tomu (of Nikkatsu), and became Uchida's film Unending
Advance (Kagirinaki zenshin, 1937).Therefore,
Ozu made just the opposite. What Did the Lady
Forget? is a cheerful and pleasant story,
just what the studio had asked for. Ozu wrote
the screenplay together with Fushimi Akira, for
the first time since I Was Born, But...
The credit titles do not indicate the characters'
names, but where they are located- for example
"the doctor from Kojimachi", "the
director from Ushigome", or "the widow
from Denenchofu", "the niece from Osaka."
The place names (except Osaka) carry concrete
and characteristic meaning. They indicate very
high-class living quarters, fixing the social
stratum of the protagonists and at the same time
the film's universe. Basically, this is the same
methodology as in the student films, the apartment
films,. The main characters' live in a mansion
in the residential quarter Kojimachi. If we try
to classify this film according to its dwelling
situations, it could be called an "uptown
mansion" film. After having lived a long
time in Fukagawa, Ozu had moved with his mother
and brother to a house in the residential quarter
Takanawa near Shinagawa in February of the previous
year. The daily life and the personality of the
actress Iida Choko, Yoshikawa Mitsuko, and Kurishima
Sumiko were skillfully used in this film. Ozu
is not any more the man who An Introduction
to Marriage (Kekkongaku nyumon, 1930).
We may even say that he showed a Lubitsch touch
here. The writer Kawabata Yasunari made the very
astute comment that at first it seems that Ozu
is hiding himself and his style, but actuallyOzu's
taste and liking appear nonetheless.