Street of Shame

Kenji Mizoguchi's last completed film presents portraits of five prostitutes in a brothel called Dreamland in Yoshiwara, Tokyo's red-light district. The women are in the life for a variety of reasons-a would-be bride finds being a whore preferable to being enslaved to a husband; a young mother assures her struggling husband, “Soon we'll be glad we didn't kill ourselves.” Another mother's grown son witnesses her debasing herself to lure clients; still, she fantasizes this son wants to live with her, for Dreamland is as much about the women's delusions as the johns'. The five actresses confirm that Mizoguchi's talents were not only in direction, but casting; Machiko Kyo plays against type as the Americanized, gum-chewing, pony-tailed lass, while the just-emerging Ayako Wakao holds her own as a beautiful, hard-boiled woman determined to escape the life, by any means necessary.

View the original U.S. press kit for Street of Shame from our Cinefiles document database.

This page may by only partially complete. For additional information about this film, view the original entry on our archived site.