女を楽しくするニュースサイト「ウーマンライフ WEB 版」

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特集「追悼 高峰秀子」4 女が階段を上がるとき(1960年)【ヒューマン映画】 When a Woman Ascends the Stairs (1960) (in memory of Hideko Takamine)

監督 成瀬巳喜男/Director: Mikio Naruse
出演 高峰秀子、森雅之、仲代達矢/Starring: Hideko Takamine‚ Masayuki Mori‚ Nakadai Tatsuya



A woman’s life sadly burns (so I hear)

Keiko Yashiro (Takamine Hideko) is a hostess at a Ginza bar. One of her patrons Matsukichi Sekine (Daisuke Katou) with his sights set on on her suggests “Rather than being somewhere like this‚ I’ve been thinking that you would be more fitting as the wife of an office worker”. She responds that because she is sentimental the hostessing trade wouldn’t be right for her. However‚ the supposedly single Daisuke Katou actually has a wife and is a serial marriage fraudster.

Takamine’s dependent family weigh on her shoulders one after the other. The costs of a lawyer so her brother can avoid jail‚ her nephew’s leg operation‚ the running costs of the business and costumes‚ securing good customers that maintain the status of her establishment‚ insults from her manager that her performance has dropped‚ and her hostess protege Junko Ichihashi (Reiko Dan) who steals her customers and sets up her own business. She complains that even if she gets sick her mother has no money and so it is impossible to relax and sleep.

She spends the night with a bank branch manager Nobuhiko Fujisaki (Masayuki Mori) but he quickly leaves to work in Osaka. There is a lot of male selfishness of not getting deeply involved and doing what they like. No matter how much resolve Takamine has‚ the audience’s feelings are “You ‘re being kicked and walked all over”; this is a simple and real feeling they have. Although she is a Ginza bar owner‚ can the audience feel any attraction of a heroine with nothing good going for her? Yuri (Keiko Awaji)‚ who is in the same industry‚ leaves Takamine’s club to start her own. She leaves with tremendous energy but her true state of affairs are in dire straits. She schemes to fake her suicide to avoid her creditors but she actually dies.

How dark is this going to be? Is it her pathetic family demanding her help? Is it worse to be betrayed or swindled by men? Is it not knowing the prosperity of people in the same industry by their appearance? Even if all of these are truths of life‚ when they are all thrown together I get dizzy. Kenichi Komatsu (Tatsuya Nakadai) is Takamine’s manager. He knows the ins and outs of the industry‚ moreover‚ if there was a man who loved Takamine from the bottom of his heart she would be successful but director Naruse doesn’t give him him any favour in the slightest.

Finally‚ as the heroine ascends the stairs of her establishment she says that in spite of things she will continue living her dream towards tomorrow. What? She has to put up with things to the very end? The catchphrase of this film was “Betrayed by love‚ hurt but seeking happiness; a woman’s life sadly burns”. Her life doesn’t have to “sadly burn”. What is here is a women resigned to self-sacrifice who will always put up with things. To men‚ this is nothing but a convenient woman. Next time is A Wanderer’s Notebook. She plays a different woman. Look forward to it.