Yoshiwara (1937)


Based on a novel by Maurice Dekobra, the film is set in the Yoshiwara, the red-light district of Tokyo, in the nineteenth century. It depicts a love triangle between a high-class prostitute, a Russian naval officer, and a rickshaw man.

Director: Max Ophüls.
Writers: Maurice Dekobra (novel), Arnold Lipp, Wolfgang Wilhelm, J. Dapoigny, Max Ophüls.
Stars: Michiko Tanaka, Roland Toutain, Lucienne Le Marchand, André Gabriello, Camille Bert, Foun-Sen, Philippe Richard, Ky Duyen, Georges Saillard, Henry Bonvallet.


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One Comment

    August 13, 2021

    Sessue Hayakawa, the male star here, was the great Japanese born silent movie actor who was once such a mesmerizing presence that he actually gave Rudolph Valentino his only competition. Through and through a superstar, he was also quite successful in the early days of Hollywood to the point of running his own studio and production company. After a lengthy western film career, largely as an actor, he returned to Japan to teach acting while simultaneously practicing as a Zen Buddhist priest.
    While not the best of Ophüls by any means, YOSHIWARA still has elements of his unique spell casting. The opera sequence is EXQUISITE and will remind fans of LETTER FROM AN UNKNOWN WOMAN of the train ride taken by Fontaine and Jourdan. The upgrade here enhances the physical beauty and visual delicacy so much a hallmark of the Ophuls canon’s overall aesthetic concern and his care. Thanks, Jon — what a rare treat!

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