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White Beast

White Beast (1950)

Shiroi yajû

97 min

Country: Japan

Director: Mikio Naruse

Actors: Chieko NakakitaEiji OkadaKimiko IinoMasao ShimizuMayuri MokushôMitsuko MiuraNoriko SengokuSô YamamuraTaizô FukamiTatsuya Ishiguro

Genres: Drama

Subtitle: English

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Movie plot

The critical establishment was clearly not prepared to accept a woman’s prison film featuring former prostitutes recovering from venereal diseases, unwanted pregnancies, and estranged lovers. With its cat fights, hysterical tantrums, film noir lighting, and dramatic music, White Beast is indicative of the new influences of the Hollywood psychological thriller on Naruse. Caged (John Cromwell, 1950) initiated a cycle of women’s prison movies in the United States that may or may not have been shown in Japan, but the stylistics of White Beast draw on the same paranoid woman’s films and film noir conventions that preceded the American cycle.

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