Different Angle Query on Japanese Film Remakes

Alexander Jacoby a_p_jacoby
Wed Jul 12 04:34:04 EDT 2006

I was under the impression that the idea that Tokyo Story was partly based on / inspired by Make Way For Tomorrow was a fairly common thought. On the other hand, the idea that it could have influenced The Only Son, which was made a year before it, would seem to fall victim to the laws of chronology.
  One of the partial remakes of Stella Dallas in the prewar period is Three Flowers / Sanrenka, made in 1935 (still silent) by the internationally little-known, but prolific, director Shigeo Tanaka. It includes a scene where the mother, unjustly despised by her daughter, watches her wedding through the window - this scene being identical to the climax of Stella Dallas. This film is rather interesting and is definitely worth seeing.

kiseko minaguchi <kiko at main.teikyo-u.ac.jp> wrote:
I'll try to scan what you picked up in Tanaka's books, which I need to find 
in the university library.
I've never been informed of the Westrern source that could have contributed 
to the makin g of Tokyo Monogatari . I wish to have that myself, but I 
doubt it had any.
----- Original Message ----- 
??? : "Michael McCaskey" 
?? : 
???? : 2006?7?12? 1:19
?? : Re: Different Angle Query on Japanese Film Remakes

> Dear Minaguchi-san,
> Thank you for your new information on Stella Dallas, and for raising the 
> Ozu point. According to Sato Tadao, in both Eiga shisoshi and Nihon eiga 
> shi, Ozu engaged in at least the "remakes" below, but Sato only gives the 
> titles, and little more information--I followed up in more detail to check 
> each out a bit more:
> (1)
> Ozu Yasujiro?s 1933 film Dekigokoro, ?Passing Fancy,? is about the trials 
> and tribulations in a family where the father becomes involved with 
> another woman, and this is resented by his son. This film is supposed to 
> have been inspired by King Vidor?s The Champ, a 1931 American film about a 
> boxer who encounters a woman his son becomes jealous of ? until the son 
> finds out the woman is actually his mother.
> (2)
> Ozu?s 1934 Ukigusa Monogatari, is the story of a father, a traveling 
> actor, who has a reunion with his illegitimate son after many years of 
> separation, in a town where the acting troupe is on tour. The son thinks 
> the man is his uncle, but a female performer in the troupe, emotionally 
> attached to the father, becomes resentful of this newly revived 
> relationship, and sets out to try to undermine it. Ozu later remade this 
> 1934 silent film, in a 1959 version in color with sound, shortening the 
> title to Ukigusa.
> Ozu?s Ukigusa plot is supposed to have been based on that of The Barker, a 
> 1928 American film directed by George Fitzmaurice, who had directed 
> Rudolph Valentino in Son of the Sheik in 1926, and later directed Greta 
> Garbo in Mata Hari in 1931. In The Barker, a carnival barker encounters 
> his long-lost son, but the barker?s current girlfriend becomes resentful 
> when she discovers the barker has had another family, and the barker tries 
> to conceal his relationship with her from his son. She then tries to 
> seduce the son as a sort of revenge. The Barker was remade in 1933, as 
> Hoopla, with Clara Bow, and again in 1945 as The Diamond Horseshoe, 
> starring Betty Grable. The Barker surfaced once again, as an early US TV 
> drama, in the 1952 Broadway Television Theater series, under its original 
> title.
> (3)
> Ozu made a 1936 film, Hitori Musuko (Only Son), his first sound film, 
> about a self-sacrificing mother who sends her son off to Tokyo, and works 
> hard to support him so he can have a better life than she has. The son has 
> his own ideas of what success is, however, and he and his mother clash 
> when she feels he has disappointed her, even marrying without consulting 
> her first. (http://www.shochiku.co.jp/video/dvd/2003/da0269_5.html, 
> accessed July 8, 2006).
> This Ozu picture is said to have been inspired by Leo McCarey?s Make Way 
> for Tomorrow, though it?s hard to see how ? there must be a different US 
> picture related to this one, but apparently Make Way for Tomorrow is 
> actually where Ozu got the idea for
> (4) Tokyo Story, where two old people also have a sad time traveling.
> (5)
> Ozu?s Chichi Ariki, ?There Was a Father,? a 1942 film about a 
> self-sacrificing widowed father, a teacher, devoted to bettering his own 
> son?s life, was based on the 1927 American film Sorrell and Son, about a 
> British father who devotes himself to putting his son through medical 
> school. This film was directed and scripted by Herbert Brenon, who had 
> made the first film version of The Great Gatsby the year before. Sorrell 
> and Son began as a very popular novel by the British writer Warwick 
> Deeping, and in 1933 it was remade in Britain as a sound film.
> If I've made any mistakes, please let me know so I can make corrections.
> It seems unusual that Sato focused so much on these Ozu films as remakes. 
> He gives few other specific remake examples by anyone else. I checked 
> these all from other angles, and they all do seem to be verified remakes. 
> I have two books on Ozu, but they say nothing about these remakes, so I'm 
> getting other books on Ozu as well, including the one about Ozu by Sato.
> I have also followed Aaron Gerow's very good suggestion, and put in an 
> interlibrary loan request for the Yamamoto Kikuo book, which seems to be 
> over 600 pages, so I should be able to find more numerous remake examples 
> by many other directors verified there. I had not planned to write so much 
> about early Japanese remakes of foreign films, but it seems I need to find 
> out about and write about more of them.
> With Many Thanks To All,
> Michael McCaskey
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: kiseko minaguchi 
> Date: Monday, July 10, 2006 9:19 pm
> Subject: Re: Different Angle Query on Japanese Film Remakes
>> I would say Ozu's films have many which got inspiration from
>> Hollywood
>> films, which he intensively saw while stationed abroad. Concerning
>> women's
>> films, I mentioned much about the Japanese remaking of Stella Dallas
>> in my book CINEMA MATERNITY (sairyusha 2005. language: Japanese)
>> Minaguchi
>> ----- Original Message ----- 
>> ??? : "Aaron Gerow" 
>> ?? : 
>> ???? : 2006?7?7? 14:33
>> ?? : Re: Different Angle Query on Japanese Film Remakes
>> >
>> > On 2006.7.6, at 10:14 AM, Michael McCaskey wrote:
>> >
>> >> I also am trying to find some information, as historical
>> background, on
>> >> any significant pre-1940 Japanese remakes of any US or European
>> films.
>> >> There must have been some, I would think.
>> >
>> > The main source, if it has not already been mentioned, is
>> Yamamoto Kikuo's
>> > Nihon eiga ni okeru gaikoku eiga no eikyo (Waseda Shuppanbu,
>> 1983). It
>> > concentrates on the prewar and, since it focuses on contemporary
>> reports
>> > of influence, mentions many films that don't even exist today.
>> >
>> >
>> > Aaron Gerow
>> > Assistant Professor
>> > Film Studies Program/East Asian Languages and Literatures
>> > Yale University
>> > 53 Wall Street, Room 316
>> > PO Box 208363
>> > New Haven, CT 06520-8363
>> > USA
>> > Phone: 1-203-432-7082
>> > Fax: 1-203-432-6764
>> > e-mail: aaron.gerow at yale.edu
>> >

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