Kisses (1957, Yasuzo Masumura)

A straightforward rebellious-youth/romantic drama. Should’ve watched this with Katy, but I didn’t think Masumura would be her style. It’s one of Masumura’s earliest films, from the writer of Mizoguchi’s Story of the Last Chrysanthemums.

Hiroshi Kawaguchi and Hitomi Nozoe would also star together in Giants and Toys:

Moody Kinichi’s dad is accused of election fraud, will need 100k yen in fines. While visiting dad in jail, Kinichi runs across Akiko who’s also visiting her dad, also needs 100k. Their moms aren’t around – the boy’s wants nothing to do with the family anymore, is a jeweler or something, and the girl’s is in a sanatorium with TB. Akiko’s family friend, a famous painter, has a playboy son who sees his chance to buy her (even blatantly phrasing it that way) now that she’s in need.

Kinichi with mom: Aiko Mimasu, in Street of Shame the previous year

So it sounds like the movie could be a sordid drama about sad poor people, but it’s not that at all. Mostly it’s a light romance between the two heavy-hearted kids – at the racing track, the beach, a piano bar. Kinichi seems somewhat reckless at first, but he’s a good, responsible kid, finally gets the money from his mom, tracks down the girl (there’s extra drama when he loses her address) and gives it to her.

In smaller roles, the boy’s jailed dad (“Lawmakers are the crooks. Until the law changes, I’ll go to jail after every election”) is Eitaro Ozawa of Assassination and The Crucified Lovers, and the girl’s sad, sick mom is Sachiko Murase, star of Kurosawa’s Rhapsody in August.

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