20 September 2019 | boblipton
A Propaganda Comedy
Kingorô Yanagiya, his daughter, and his grand daughter arrive in a shabby town on the Toho back lot, and open up a store. They offer an absurd variety of goods and services, but what they are really offering their neighbors is a good attitude: friendliness, frugality, and seeing the best in bad situations.
It's certainly not the sort of movie one would expect from Mikio Naruse. Most of his comedies are more standard in their structure. This one is, I believe, one mandated as a propaganda piece from the government. This was the year that Kurosawa directed THE MOST BEAUTIFUL, in which being the girl who beat production goals by the biggest margins was the ne plus ultra in loveliness.
Naruse took this assignment and, thinking it absurd, filled it full of good-humored absurdities. He was, after all, a highly skilled director, and if his assignment was to make a movie to convince people to eat fried potato skins and add carrot and apple peelings to their soup, then he was going to make it an entertaining one.
Even before the studio credit, there's a title urging the audience to "Keep up the fight!" In this country, the films urged the audiences to buy war bonds and stamps at the end.