This question is about the last ten minutes of Three Sisters with Maiden Hearts (1935), in which O-Ren (the eldest sister) lures Aoyama, who was wooing Chieko (the youngest sister), into the hands of some ruffians.

The question is: How could O-Ren have got Aoyama to follow her?


One possibility is that O-Ren identified herself as Chieko's sister, i.e. say to Aoyama, in effect, 'I am your potential future sister-in-law. Please follow me as I want to talk to you.'

This theory is consistent with what Aoyama says to the ruffians. When O-Ren leaves Aoyama with the ruffians, they have this conversation:

Ruffian 1 : I know this is really shameless of me to ask this of you, but I'm a very poor relative of hers, and I'd like to ask you for a loan. (The English subtitles does not make it clear whom the 'hers' refers to, O-Ren or Chieko.)

Aoyama : It's not that I don't trust you, but I'd like to consult with Chieko first.

To make sense of this reference to Chieko, we might imagine (a) O-Ren identified herself as Chieko's sister; (b) by identifying himself as a relative of either woman, the ruffian was claiming a potential future kinship with Aoyama; and (c) Aoyama naturally enough said he wanted to consult with Chieko first.

However, the theory is inconsistent with the final scene at the train station, where O-Some (the middle sister) was seeing off O-Ren and told O-Ren that Chieko could not come because the rehearsal went late. They then have this conversation:

O-Some : She [Chieko] really wanted to come, but she sends her regards.

O-Ren : I see. It's too bad she couldn't come.

[Other topics]

O-Some : And O-Ren, Chieko found herself a good man. Be happy for her.

O-Ren : Oh, what sort of a man is he? I'd like to see him.

The only way to reconcile this bit with the theory above is to think that O-Ren was lying to O-Some without batting an eye. But that would place O-Ren's character beyond the bounds of this movie. She is not a character in Mission Impossible. (Of course I cannot convey that here, short of going through the whole movie. Yes, simply delivering your future brother-in-law into the hands of the ruffian is already pretty bad. But, given the straits O-Ren was in, we might suppose that she rationalized her action with the thought that nothing truly terrible would come of it. But this straight-faced lying would go beyond that.)

But suppose we bow to this train station scene and assume that O-Ren did not even know Aoyama was Chieko's suitor and said nothing to him about being Chieko's sister. On this assumption, it is hard to see why Aoyama would have followed O-Ren and why, on being asked for a loan, he would refer to Chieko, who (on this assumption) has nothing to do with O-Ren or the ruffian in Aoyama's mind.

See this review, which calls the final sequence "a series of coincidences and cliches that do not grow from the atmospheric stasis that came before," but apparently does not find it puzzling as a matter of plot.

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