6.7/10
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4 user 4 critic

White Beast (1950)

Shiroi yajû (original title)
Keiko Yukawa is a former prostitute and the newest inmate at White Lily, a female rehabilitation facility.

Director:

Mikio Naruse

Writers:

Mikio Naruse, Motosada Nishiki (screenplay)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Mitsuko Miura Mitsuko Miura ... Keiko Yukawa
Sô Yamamura ... Ryosuke Izumi
Eiji Okada ... Iwasaki
Kimiko Iino Kimiko Iino ... Yuko Nakahara
Chieko Nakakita ... Ono Yoko
Mayuri Mokushô Mayuri Mokushô ... Mari Sayama (as Kumiko Mokushô)
Noriko Sengoku Noriko Sengoku ... Miyoshi
Masao Shimizu Masao Shimizu
Tatsuya Ishiguro
Taizô Fukami Taizô Fukami
Fujio Nagahama Fujio Nagahama
Tanie Kitabayashi Tanie Kitabayashi
Yûko Matsui Yûko Matsui
Yaeko Izumo Yaeko Izumo
Tsuruko Mano Tsuruko Mano
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Storyline

Keiko Yukawa is a former prostitute and the newest inmate at White Lily, a female rehabilitation facility.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

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Details

Country:

Japan

Language:

Japanese

Release Date:

3 June 1950 (Japan) See more »

Also Known As:

La bête blanche See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Tanaka Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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User Reviews

social problems and "sensationalism"
3 March 2018 | by kekseksaSee all my reviews

Naruse is sometimes accused in this film of confusing a social problem with a sensational issue in the manner of a so-called "exploitation" film . But this begs he question concerning what is the social problem (I assume prostitution) and what the sensational subject (I assume venereal disease). But prostitution per se, never a taboo subject in Japan, was not necessarily considered a social problem and the social problem being considered here is precisely that of venereal disease, the danger of which was increased by exactly the kind of non-traditional forms of prostitution that became common in the wartime and postwar period.

In ordinary times the problems of venereal disease are frequently overlooked although i practice diseases like syphilis and gonorrhea remain as common as ever. The exception is during times of war, when they become particularly widespread (and represent a threat to the efficiency of the armed forces).

Even in puritan USA this "sensational" subject was treated, exceptionally, as a serious problem as early as 1919 (post-war in exactly the same way as Naruse's film) in the film The End of the Road , which is in fact very similar in many ways, to Naruse's 1950 film (although a shade more hysterical about the gruesome effects of syphilis) and was actually sponsored by the US army.

This is not really Naruse's natural style nor really what he does best but Naruse attempted after the war in several films to engage with social issues in a less detached way than he had done in his much better pre-war films. Personally I can respect the effort but much prefer the rather cool, anti-sentimental (but not necessarily cynical) style of his earlier films. However, Floating Clouds (1955), another take on postwar problems is said to be Naruse's most popular film in Japan.social problems and sensational issues

Even here however he shows a typical unwillingness too take tragedy too tragedy so that his consideration of a problem that might have been sensational is anything quite the reverse (even compared to the officially sponsored 1919 US film).

His real return to form, however, comes for me with the film Nagareru/Flowing in 1957, a rather different take on Japanese postwar problems (as seen from the perspective of a rundown geisha house), beautifully acted by a dream cast (largely feminine), wonderfully filmed and told in a much more typically Narusian tone of wry irony.


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