The Neighbor's Wife and Mine
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|The Neighbor's Wife and Mine|
|Directed by||Heinosuke Gosho|
|Produced by||Shirô Kido|
|Written by||Akira Fushimi
|Distributed by||Shochiku Company|
|August 1, 1931|
The Neighbor's Wife and Mine (マダムと女房 Madamu to nyōbō?) was the first Japanese narrative film to fully employ sound. A 1931 release, it was directed by Heinosuke Gosho. It won the 1932 Kinema Junpo Award for best film.
Sound came later to Japanese cinema than in many other countries because of the enduring popularity of the benshi, also known as katsuben, cinema lecturers/narrators who would accompany each screening by giving voice and sound to otherwise "silent" films.
The comedic story depicts a playwright attempting to write a play by a strict deadline and getting distracted by noisy children, neighbors, and his wife.
The film opens with Shibano, a playwright for a Tokyo theater, squabbling with a painter over his work depicting a local house, newly up for rent. The two stumble into the street only to be interrupted when Shibano accidentally falls into the women's section of a nearby bathhouse. The woman who appears to scold them ends up dissolving the situation, and Shibano finally states his desire to move into the house pictured previously.
Soon, Shibano and his family have moved in, but he is late on his deadline for a new script and the family is running low on money. When they move to the new town, he hopes to be inspired and to finish the script. His first attempts do not go so well, with distractions from his children and his wife, as well as his own procrastination. The neighbors were also distracting, as they hosted the practices for a jazz band. When Shibano went next door to ask them to quiet down, he was invited by the wife of the household to stay and watch the rehearsal; she is the same woman who previously intervened in Shibano's fight in Tokyo. As the group practices and treats Shibano to drink, he listens to the song lyrics and becomes infected with the new jazz fever of the period. The song, about the "Age of Speed" inspires him to go home and finish his script; the movie ends with a more modernized family reflecting on their differences from the local farmers.
- Atsushi Watanabe as Shibano Shinnsaku, the playwright.
- Kinuyo Tanaka as Shibano's wife.
- Satoko Date as Yamakawa Takiko, the neighbor's wife.
- Mitsuko Ichimura as the playwright's daughter.
- Shinichi Himori
- Yukiko Inoue
- Tokuji Kobayashi
- Takeshi Sakamoto
- The cinema of Gosho Heinosuke: laughter through tears By Arthur Nolletti 
- Film Fest Journal 
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