Mizoguchi -- what else survives?

Alexander Jacoby a_p_jacoby at yahoo.co.uk
Sun Sep 24 01:29:24 EDT 2006

I've seen all the films you list - and, in answer to Mark Harris' query, saw them all in Europe. They have all been subtitled (except The Straits of Love and Hate, which I saw at Bologna with earphone commentary), but most are in The Japan Foundation, Film Center or Kawakita Institute in Tokyo, thus making them accessible to Westerners only in the context of travelling retrospectives.
  Furusato / Hometown (1930) was included in the 1998 London Mizoguchi retro and is complete. The print is very decent too, unlike those that survive of most prewar Mizoguchis. This is Mizoguchi's first sound film and often described as the first Japanese sound film, though there had been one or two earlier experiments, and this is really only a part-talkie still. Stylistically the film is a bit clumsy - the sound on disk process appears to have hampered Mizoguchi's work. Nevertheless, it's an interesting film with some atmospheric footage of Westernised early Showa era Tokyo.
  I'm not sure anyone knows who directed which parts of Asahi wa Kagayaku - what survives, however, is the documentary portion. As the non-documentary part starred Mizoguchi's regular star, Takako Irie, I imagine that he directed those scenes, and Seiichi Ina the documentary bits.
  BUT - it seems not to have filtered into common Western knowledge that the list of extant Mizoguchis has expanded by one! I only learned this the other day myself, from Hiroshi Komatsu, and this query will save me writing individually to the several people on this list with whom I had been discussing lost Mizoguchis recently. It seems that the film in question turned up a couple of years ago and has even been shown on Japanese TV. The title of the film is Ojo Okichi (untranslateable - the name of the heroine), and it was made in 1935. It is so obscure that isn't even listed in any English language Mizoguchi filmography I've seen. The reason for this may be that it is actually another film co-directed by Mizo (the name of the co-director, who is little-known, has momentarily eluded me however). In any case Hiroshi assured me that the film looks like a Mizoguchi, and as the leading lady is Isuzu Yamada, then Mizo's regular star, I would guess that it was planned for
 Mizoguchi. If anyone knows any more about this film (or even has seen it!), please let us know - I haven't had a chance actually to watch it yet.
  Anyway, it's something for KineJapan to celebrate!


Michael E Kerpan <kerpan at attglobal.net> wrote:
  I've managed to see the following Mizoguchi films -- and suspect there aren't 
many more left to track down.

Furusato no uta / The Song of Home (1925)
Tokyo koshin-kyoku / Tokyo March (1929) 
Taki no shiraito / The Water Magician (1933)
Orizuru Osen / The Downfall of Osen (1935)
Maria no Oyuki / Oyuki the Virgin (1935)
Gubijinsô / Poppies (1935)
Naniwa erejî / Osaka Elegy (1936) 
Gion no shimai / Sisters of the Gion (1936)
Aien kyo / The Straits of Love and Hate (1937) 
Zangiku monogatari / The Story of the Late Chrysanthemums (1939) 
Genroku chushingura / The 47 Ronin (1941) 
Miyamoto Musashi / Musashi Miyamoto (1944) 
Meito bijomaru / The Famous Sword Bijomaru (1945) 
Josei no shôri / The Victory of Women (1946) 
Utamaro o meguru gonin no onna / Five Women Around Utamaro (1946) 
Joyû Sumako no koi / The Love of Sumako the Actress (1947) 
Yoru no onnatachi / Women of the Night (1948) 
Waga koi wa moenu / My Love Has Been Burning (1949) 
Yuki fujin ezu / Portrait of Madame Yuki (1950) 
Oyû-sama / Miss Oyu (1951) 
Musashino fujin / The Lady from Musashino (1951) 
Saikaku ichidai onna / The Life of Oharu (1952)
Ugetsu monogatari / Ugetsu (1953) 
Gion bayashi / Gion Festival Music / A Geisha (1953) 
Sanshô dayû / Sansho the Bailiff (1954) 
Uwasa no onna / The Woman in the Rumor (1954) 
Chikamatsu monogatari / The Crucified Lovers (1954) 
Yôkihi / Empress Yang Kwei Fei (1955) 
Shin heike monogatari / Legend of the Taira Clan (1955) 
Akasen chitai / Street of Shame (1956) A

I seem to recall that at least part of Fujiwara Yoshie no furusato (1930) 
survives. -- and also some of the non-Mizoguchi portions of the 1929 "Asahi 
no kagayaku" still exist and were included on the recent Japanese DVD of 
"Yuki" (is anything left of Mizoguchi's work on this).

Is there anything else out there anyone knows about? And does anyone have any 
idea on how to track down a copy of Fujiwara Yoshie no furusato (assuming it 
does, in fact, exist).

Oh -- and I wonder why Shochiku is releasing a DVD of "Bijomaru" and not the 
(IMHO) better Miyamoto Musashi?

(Also still trying to track down more Naruse). ;~}


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