This is the first in a series of steamships and cruise ships from the past featured in films or television.
These are scenes of Canadian Pacific’s liner EMPRESS OF RUSSIA leaving Yokohama, Japan, from Shimizu Hiroshi’s MINATO NO NIHON MUSUME (Japanese Girls at the Harbor) filmed in 1933. Until security restrictions in the 1990s, there was an entire ritual for a ship’s departure or sailing. Passengers had visitors aboard for farewell parties. When the ship sailed, passengers threw streamers to their friends dockside. A band on the pier would play national favorites or such songs as “Now is the Hour” or “Aloha” when ships left Honolulu, Hawaii. Customs such as this have disappeared along with passenger lists, souvenir menus, officers tables, the ship’s betting pool, horse racing, skeet shooting, etc. Now cruise lines have napkin folding classes!
One of the undisputed masters of Japan cinema, Shimizu Hiroshi (1903-1966) made well over 100 films in his career, ranging from children’s films to lighthearted comedies to stories from the fringe. His outstanding cinematic achievements match that of contemporary great and lifelong friend Ozu Yasujiro, though the latter has eclipsed him in recognition. Shimizu Hiroshi is particularly well known for his children’s films, such as Children in the Wind (1937), but his steady stream of output for Shochiku from the 1920s to 1950s yielded a far wider selection of films, many of which have been sadly lost to time. One of Shimizu Hiroshi’s most representative silent films, Minato no Nihon Musume (Japanese Girls at the Harbor) (1933, B&W, 72min).
First Class public rooms aboard the Empress of Russia.
We wish to thank “John” for contributing material and bringing this film to our attention.