ONE WONDERFUL SUNDAY

(Japanese Title: Subarashiki nichiyobi)
(1947 - Japan)
With Isao Numasaki, Chieko Nakakita
Directed by
Akira Kurosawa
Black and White
Reviewed by JB

And then suddenly, they ran out of things to talk about     ONE WONDERFUL SUNDAY is a plotless, episodic confection about a pair of young lovers with only 35 yen between them who make a memorable Sunday date out of nothing.   It's a minor Kurosawa film, but an appealing, almost Capra-esque one nonetheless.

    The film is carried by the two engaging leads, Isao Numasaki and Chieko Nakakita, playing something like Kurosawa's versions of Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed, to name one famous Frank Capra couple.  Although the film sags in the middle as Numasaki's character wallows in self-pity for a bit too long, it picks up again when the lovers plan their dream coffee house, in pantomime and dialogue, while standing amongst the bombed out ruins of the city.  By the time the day is done, and the couple has spent its 35 yen, plus one overcoat for an overcharged cup of coffee, the final words of the film, spoken by the girl, are predictable but perfect: "See you next Sunday!"   

    ONE WONDERFUL SUNDAY is so unique to the Kurosawa canon, I just realized that it is one of the few Kurosawa reviews I've written not to mention a single other film by the director.  For that alone, it deserves to have a place on the shelf of any decent Kurosawa fan. ½ - JB

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Note: In my review of RECORD OF A LIVING BEING (written before this one), I mentioned how Kurosawa DVDs from Hong Kong are horribly subtitled, and I promised never to use one of these DVDs for review purposes again.  However, I rented ONE WONDERFUL SUNDAY and discovered that the dialogue was so simple, about 80 percent of it was translated in a way that at least made some sense.  The charms of the film were obvious anyway, and so I wrote this review.  However, I must add this one phrase to the Bad Subtitle Hall of Fame: Schubert's Unfinished Symphony is referred to as "Schubert's Symphony of Incomplete Orchestra". - JB
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