Shukujo wa nani o wasureta ka

Black and White . 71 minutes

Shochiku Ofuna Studio

Written By

Ozu Yasujiro ('James Maki')
Fushimi Akira


Mohara Hideo

Music By

Ito Senji


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 married.

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.


he 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.

Personal Thoughts and Comments
What Did the Lady Forget is a joy of a film from Ozu. His earliest influence as a filmmaker was from the West and while this is evident in much of his earliest silent films it may be most prominent in this early talkie. The film is a social satire of the upper class and it even mixes in elements of screwball comedy. The great German-American filmmaker Ernst Lubitsch (known for his "Lubitsch touch') seems to be an influence here. Ultimately this is Ozu at his most lighthearted and charming. This film does not express the human condition as powerfully as his previous film (his first talkie The Only Son). What Did the Lady Forget is a wonderful comedy highlight by terrific performances. This may not be the most significant film Ozu made, but it is among his most endlessly watchable and endearing comedies.

Film Images

"Pillow Shots"
A clip from What Did the Lady Forget?
dvd (R3)