High-rated movies with very few views. Suggestions are welcome.
An alcoholic doctor builds a shaky friendship with a dying gangster
I spoke yesterday of tigers. I read after my review that Toshiro Mifune was considered for the title role in Dersu Uzala, but watching him here, in his ragged youth, I think he would have been better as the tiger anyway. He is certainly a predator, nearly as unhinged here (from booze, in part, and from sickness) as he was later in Sword of Doom. He makes Val Kilmer's surprisingly charismatic turn as a consumptive look sedate, and yet what he really does is encapsulate rage and frustration that has nothing to do with booze or disease.
I have read elsewhere that this film contains some subtle criticisms of America and the American occupation, and some not-so-subtle ones (the cesspool…
Probably the best cautionary tale about the dangers of tuberculosis.... in the world.
After an ill-fated attempt at expanding my Akira Kurosawa viewings with The Quiet Duel the other night, I was delighted that I had a version of Drunken Angel where the subtitles appeared to be completely coherent. It really has been a priority of mine to watch more Kurosawa - I've at least enjoyed all of the films I've seen by him.
Drunken Angel is vaguely cast as a Japanese noir except it isn't really. It only really steps into noirish areas during the last half an hour or so when the old boss of TB-riddled gangster Toshiro Mifune (dashingly handsome during his earlier years, wasn't he?) turns…
Fall in love for someone like me, I may be scrubby but you get free medical care.
The 16 films directed by Akira Kurosawa staring Toshirô Mifune has to stand as the greatest director/actor collaboration in cinema history. Not because of sheer quantity, but because of the unmatched quality of their films together. I expected their first film together to be good, but as with most Kurosawa films it exceeded my expectations.
The director was told about an actor that was auditioning for a different film that might be right for a role he was trying to cast in Drunken Angel. The story goes that Kurosawa watched said…
Beautiful in words that cannot be expressed except for Kurosawa's own language of cinema, Drunken Angel is one of the gems of Kurosawa's pre Rashomon era and is a film in Kurosawa's extraordinary filmography that fails to get its due reputation, mostly due to the formidable masterpieces that comprise of his filmography. Truly gripping in every sense, Drunken Angel works superbly due to the performances of Japanese icons, Toshiro Mifune and Takashi Shimura who with this film, establish an untouchable collaboration with Kurosawa.
Creating a near perfect, unique, creative and compelling dynamic in a drunk doctor and a dying gangster, who meet on accidental terms and form an uneasy but useful friendship, Drunken Angel is extremely moving, relevant, entertaining, impressive…
According to Kurosawa himself, this being his seventh film, Drunken Angel was the first that was truly his own. And what a great movie it is.
In Japan, critics have written that this is the film that defined him as a filmmaker, while he himself claimed not to have undergone any change other than having been given free reins. It was also the first film where Kurosawa cast Toshiro Mifune, and this is perhaps the debut of the times. True, he had occupied minor roles before, but after this he was star. Kurosawa later wrote:
[Takashi] Shimura played the doctor beautifully, but I found I could not control Mifune. When I saw this, I let him do as he wanted,…
Toshiro Mifune cut an excellent figure as a young man. The angles of his face were sharp and his hair was well coiffed. But as Drunken Angel progresses, it's the appearance of Mifune's consumptive gangster that telegraphs clearly what point the story is at. By the end, those sharp facial angles are razor blades, emphasized with almost kabuki-style make-up and that hair is flopping this way and that. Mifune's performance is awesome, so good that the make-up feels like a distraction, a bit of overkill when all you needed was Mifune's eyes and stilted walk.
Drunken Angel is a bit too melodramatic for my liking. But it is still Kurosawa, and with all great directors I tend to judge them…
Suffocatingly strong work of a pre-master
All I have to say about this movie is that it does the whole "At the end of the day, humanity's not so bad" ending ten times better than Rashomon did.
Frankly speaking, I have a lot of Kurosawa movies to watch yet, and he is one director that I have rarely visited in the last couple of years. So after a long time, I thought I should correct that, and decided to watch his earliest in my collection. This film is a milestone of sorts – as it marks the first collaboration between Kurosawa and the legendary Mifune – aptly aided by Takashi Shimura, another Kurosawa regular. The film is set in a post-war, polluted strip of Japan, where a strange relationship brews between Matsunaga, a punky gangster diagnosed with TB, and an alcoholic doctor named Sanada, who is not too drunk to not uphold the values of his profession…
A wise but drunk of a doctor tries to talk some sense into a Yakuza member with TB.
Like all of Kurosawa's films, it has strong philosophical undertones, and I like THIS style the best, (much like Ikiru) where it's a little more subtle, and little more dialogue driven, and plenty of scenes in bars.
Best drunk acting I've ever seen
A film that epitomizes Kurosawa's reputation for overwhelming cynicism--but within that cynicism lies hope and an odd coming-together or people driven not by their likeness but by their raging intolerance of each other. The two characters, an arrogant, reckless young Yakuza member and an elderly, abusive doctor meet by chance and ultimately realize they need each other despite quite clearly despising each other and what they stand for. The film can be a bit of a punishing experience, a series of shouting matches that routinely escalate into fisticuffs in an almost clockwork-like fashion. However, through their regular aggressions the two characters slowly come closer and closer to a sort of reconciliation--if they are to survive they will have to overcome…
The real Drunken Angel.....was love.
For my money this is one of Kurosawa's best works, and one of the best performances of frequent collaborator Toshiro Mifune. A powerful and moving indictment of feudal masculinty focused on the Yakuza but clearly a commentary on WWII Japan's military rule.
My canon. In (approximate) order of favorite films, not necessarily of best action sequences.
Trying to keep a relatively open…
Another month, but a more expansive trip around the world. I may or may not go on a city break…