Saturday, February 16, 2013

362. Hanyeo/The Housemaid (1960)

Running Time: 111 minutes
Directed By: Kim Ki-young
Written By: Kim Ki-young
Main Cast: Kim Jin-kyu, Lee Eun-shim, Ju Jeung-ryu, Um Aing-ran, Ahn Sung-ki
Click here to view the trailer


Another BIG, BIG thank you to "Ste" for providing me with links to six of the nearly impossible to find features from the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die" book. Figuring I better watch them before they disappear, today I started doing just that and checked out "The Housemaid".

When describing the events of "Hanyeo" or "The Housemaid", all I'd really need to tell you is that it's very similar to "Fatal Attraction", as far as the plot goes. However, as you know, I'd feel like I was cheating you if that's all I said, so buckle up for details. Mr. Kim is the main character - a husband, father of two and piano teacher, who takes a job at a factory giving music lessons to the female workers.  Mr. Kim is dedicated to his wife and family, recently purchasing a new, two-story home and eagerly anticipating the new arrival to their family (his wife is pregnant). When Mrs. Kim becomes overly exhausted from working two jobs, to the point of sickness, Mr. Kim urges her to rest and brings up the idea of hiring a maid to run the day-to-day household chores. The idea is accepted by Mrs. Kim and Mr. Kim asks one of the girls at the factory and a personal student of his to try and find him a good girl, who could work at his home. The student introduces him to a very unbalanced (although that isn't clear at first) girl, who agrees to do the job and for a little while, she works out. One evening, during a moment of temptation and weakness, Mr. Kim is seduced by the new housemaid and has an affair with her. Mr. Kim admits the affair to his wife and though she is angered by his actions, doesn't leave him. Things get more complicated when the housemaid announces she's pregnant.


Man, this season has been loaded with some amazing films, but some of the endings have just been utterly head scratching, if you ask me. Take for instance the ending to "The Housemaid", another twist ending (see "Les Diaboliques"), where it is revealed that nothing in the movie ACTUALLY happened and that it was simply Mr. Kim imagining what COULD HAPPEN if he were to be tempted by the seductions of his own housemaid. I can't say I didn't like it, but I can't say I liked it either and I don't like that feeling of indifference. I've always been a big fan of the "the whole story was a dream/imagining" ending, so, in time, "The Housemaid" COULD grow on me. Otherwise, there certainly wasn't anything wrong with the film and it begs the question, even more so now that I've seen it, as to why this isn't readily available on DVD. I can only assume that there are a large number of die hard film fans that have yet to experience this one and I think there would probably be a large audience for it. The film was remade in 2010 and the 1960 version left enough of an impression on me for me to want to see the remake, although I probably won't for a while.

If you like thrillers, that border on horror stories, then I think you'd really dig this one, so definitely give it a look. Like I said, it's a lot like "Fatal Attraction", plot-wise, but "The Housemaid" is definitely a lot creepier, uses music more effectively and is just flat out more odd. I wasn't TOTALLY blown away with it or anything and don't know if I'd go so far as to call it a MUST SEE, but it was certainly a WORTH SEEING and provided me with a perfectly enjoyable two hours of movie viewing AND has the potential to grow on me with time.

RATING: 6.5/10  Good, but not great, but certainly worth a look. You can check it out for free (if you create an account) at @


February 16, 2013  10:14pm


  1. Well, I saw this in the last couple of days as well (a VERY tricky one to track down)so nice and fresh.
    An interesting tip.. I have looked up veehd, and registered.. not had time to check what they have or watch anything yet, but it may well be a help. Thank you.
    But that came only after i had bought a (copy) imported from someone in California. But I'm glad i did, this would be one for me to keep.
    OK, my enthusiasm waned a little as it went on and it all got a tad too melodramatic and overacted at the end, but I like it.
    I hadn't thought of it as such, but I see what you mean about it being a bit 'Fatal attraction' ish. I can rather guess what the remake will be like, and won't be looking for that.
    Ray, (UK) back after quite some time

    1. Ray,

      I think it's one that WILL grow on me with time. I had just come off an amazing stretch of movies (including "Le Trou", "Some Like It Hot", "Buffalo 66", "The Apartment" and "The Wages of Fear") and perhaps, the greatness of those movies caused this one to shine a little less.

      Oh and WELCOME BACK!!!!


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