The Woman of Rumour (1954) Poster

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Another outstanding Mizoguchi's film
fa-oy24 December 2012
There is not really much that could be said about this beautifully executed film; if you are familiar with Mizoguchi's themes, you will most likely know that the majority of his films are based on women's suffering. This film is no exception; it revolves around a geisha house run by a widow whose daughter had attempted to commit suicide, after her boyfriend found out about her mother's everyday profession (this can actually be found in the film's synopsis). However, the daughter then decides to look after all the women carrying out their duties at her mother's business, as she learns they are there because hard times require it. Between mother and daughter mediates a young doctor who also takes part in the business, taking good care of the geisha.

I would recommend this film to anyone interested in classic Japanese cinema. However, if you are new to Mizoguchi, you might want to start with his most famous films.

My score: 9/10
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Watchable melodrama
sharptongue19 May 2007
How does a middle-aged woman hold the attention of a handsome young man when her attractive and intelligent daughter captures his attention ? Can she fight back ? Is bribery an effective tactic ? An age-old story where three top-rank actors tend to overact, but are kept in check by master director Mizoguchi. And the intensity of the main story is nicely balanced by the little day-to-day dramas of running a bawdy house. The side-story of the geisha who collapses and becomes very ill, and the appearance of her younger sister who begs to take her place because of family poverty, is touching and well-handled.

I've seen several movies made around this time on theme of geisha houses lately, and although this is one of lesser among them, I would nevertheless recommend this movie. Tanaka Kinuyo and Kuga Yoshiko are two of Japan's great actresses of the 50s, and to see them slug it out over a weak and vain young man is something to behold.
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"I wonder when girls like us will no longer be needed, but they just keep coming."
boblipton10 September 2019
Yoshiko Kuga was engaged, but when her fiance found out what her mother was, he broke it off. Miss Kuga tried to kill herself. Now her mother, Kinuyo Tanaka has fetched her home to her brothel in Kyoto. Miss Kuga hates the work, but she behaves compassionately towards the girls who work there. It's a well-run establishment, and the girls are well taken care of. There's even a doctor on call, Tomoemon Otani. He's Miss Tanaka's lover. She is preparing to sell the place, finance a clinic for Otani, and marry him. However, Miss Kuga doesn't know this, and she and Otani plot to run off to Tokyo together.

It's a typically sympathetic look at the profession by Kenji Mizoguchi, and with the fearless Miss Tanaka playing an aging mistress, it's very well acted. It's not one of Mizoguchi's major pieces, but it's a fine minor effort.
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