Ichiban utsukushiku / The Most Beautiful (1944) DVD5 Criterion Collection
The factory's kindly paternalistic production head (Takashi Shimura) tells the lady workers they must increase production to 50 per cent of the men. The worker leader is Tsuru Watanabe (Yoko Yaguchi), who gets the boss to agree that the ladies will do two-thirds of what the men do. The idealized ladies work hard under trying conditions and encounter numerous problems from fatigue, tuberculosis, illness, a breaking of a leg, and in one case, the death of a family member. Watanabe becomes obsessed with meeting the goal, which endangers her well-being as she faces many challenges that include what to do about her mother dying at home with no one to take care of her.
The film lucidly shows that team work is needed to win the war, as it points out throughout the beauty of the Japanese spirit and the value of self-sacrifice. Kurosawa used professional actors only in the major roles, in the minor roles he got realism from the non-professionals.

DVD5 | NTSC 4:3 (720x480) VBR | 01:25:12 | 4.14 Gb + 3% rec
Japanese (Dolby AC3, 1 ch, 384Kbps) | Subtitle: English
Genre: Drama

Director: Akira Kurosawa
Actors: Takashi Shimura, Soji Kiyokawa, Ichiro Sugai, Takako Irie, Yoko Yaguchi, Sayuri Tanima
Country: Japan

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