Kenji Mizoguchi’s film is somewhat of a disappointment. He’s done other films on women using or selling their bodies to sustain themselves but this one lacks finesse. It’s not just that it’s lurid and borderline exploitative but that it’s near hysterical in the way it portrays the lives of its three protagonists. A war widow (Kinuyo Tanaka), a dance hall hostess (Sanae Takasugi) and a runaway teenager (Tomie Tsunoda) all fall prey to prostitution (not the semi-glamorous geisha kind, we’re talking streetwalking) and the film comes across as one of those overbearing overly dramatic “teaching” films you show to young impressionable girls (“See this? This is what will happen to you if you go all the away with a boy! You’ll get syphilis and pregnant too and end up living and dying in the streets!”). The actresses don’t even get a chance to develop characterizations. Poor Tanaka goes from decent if naïve secretary one minute to syphilis ridden whore the next with no stops in-between. Still, there’s no denying it’s compelling to watch.