[A clip from

Kid Commotion

(1935) Produced at the Shochiku Kinema Kamata Film Studio

Running time: 34 minutes
Scenario: Ikeda Tadao

Director: Saito Torajiro
Cinematography: Taketomi Yoshio


Shigeru Fukuda: Ogura Shigeru
Fukuda's wife Osaki: Izumo Yaeko
Fukuda's eldest son Ichiro: Fujimatsu Shotaro Fukuda's second son Jiro: Nomura Akio
Fukuda's third son Saburo: Yokoyama Jun
Fukuda's daughter Matsuko: Kojima Teruko
Fukuda's second daughter Takeko: Kojima Kazuko
The landlord: Soga Mutsu
The baron: Tani Reiko
Midwife: Takamatsu Eiko
Woman: Takigawa Reiko
The first messenger: Yamada Nagamasa

The Fukudas are poor. Poor with lots of children. They are soon to be blessed with their seventh bundle of joy. However, Mr. Fukuda is out of work and can't afford to pay the water bill. They've got a well, so it doesn't really matter when the water gets turned off. The gas too, but rice cooks just as well over an open fire. No problems. But then Mrs. Fukuda goes into labor. Now, that's a problem. Flustered Fukuda rushes off to find a midwife. However, since he's six kids' payments behind, there isn't a midwife in town who'll come. In fact, all the midwives in town have rushed over to attend to the birth of the rich baron's pig. "If only my wife had been born a pig..." says Fukuda to himself. He's just got to get some money. He tries borrowing money from the local geisha house - by using his daughter as collateral. No good. Things are looking pretty glum when the wheel of fortune spins Fukuda's way. There's a reward out for the runaway piglet. Charge!! And finally....

Towards the end of the Japanese silent film era, the Shochiku Kamata Film Studio turned out a steady supply of short comedies to be shown as supplements to feature length films. Torajiro Saito was the most famous director of contemporary comedies. He became a specialist of that genre and continued making slapstick comedies well after the silent film era ended. However, it is widely agreed that his best films are his silent slapstick comedies. Unfortunately Kid Commotion is his only remaining silent comedy. However, even judging by this one film, we see how full of energy and brilliant gags his slapstick comedies of that era were. His films did more than simply amuse audiences. They were scathingly ironical glimpses of that economically depressed time.

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