Wedding Ring (1950)

Wedding Ring (Konyaku yubiwa)
Directed by Keisuke Kinoshita
Written by Keisuke Kinoshita
1950/Japan
Kinuyo Tanaka Productions/Shôchiku Eiga
First viewing/Hulu

“Oh! how many torments lie in the small circle of a wedding ring.” — Colley Cibber

There’s some good acting here but the story sort of overstayed its welcome.

Michio Kuki has been very ill with TB for some time.  He is cared for in his wealthy father’s home near the sea.    His wife Noriko (Kinuyo Tanaka) runs the family’s dress shop business in Tokyo and visits only on weekends.  One day, Michio’s doctor is replaced by the handsome young Dr.  Ema (Toshiro Mifune).  The doctor must make regular house calls to drain his patient’s lungs.

wedding ring 2

Michio and his wife have not been intimate since he fell ill.  Noriko begins to have an overpowering physical attraction to Dr Ema and her passion is reciprocated.  The two spend the rest of the film trying to do the right thing despite themselves.

wedding ring 1

With two great actors in the lead, this can’t help being interesting.  However, this kind of unconsummated love affair isn’t really enough to sustain a feature length film .  The couple face the same dilemma over and over again as they can’t seem to keep apart.  Tanaka spends most of the film crying and Mifune even succumbs at one point.  Brief Encounter this isn’t.

3 thoughts on “Wedding Ring (1950)

  1. I’ve never seen WEDDING RING but am very interested in the theme/plot. How do we maintain tension in a story of unrequited love. NOW, VOYAGE does. BRIEF ENCOUNTER does. Where/how does WEDDING RING fail? Did it need a stronger sub-plot? More growth on the part of the characters? I would like to see it!

    • Maybe it is the amount of crying that got to me. The film is more sensual than either Brief Encounter or Now, Voyager and the couple stays on the brink of retreating to an inn several different times. She, in particular, always goes into a crying jag when she is battling with her desire. It’s not a bad movie by any means, though, and I would recommend it.

      Several of Kinoshita’s films are on YouTube with subtitles but not this one. The Criterion Collection has about 900 films on Hulu’s subscription service. Every week they make a few available for free to non-subscribers. Here’s where you can find what’s available for the coming week: http://www.criterion.com/current/posts/3618-what-s-happening-on-hulu. No Kinoshita right now unfortunately. I subscribe. Not a huge number of films but many you can’t get elsewhere. It’s $7.99 a month or $96 a year.

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