A list of all films associated with the Criterion Collection, including laserdiscs, DVDs, Blu-rays, Essential Arthouse, Eclipse Series, Hulu Plus,…
An alcoholic doctor builds a shaky friendship with a dying gangster
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…
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…
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…
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…
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…
In the ruin of post-war Japan Kurosawa's interest in the nature of morality blossoms in this engrossing and thrilling gangster picture. Filmed at a time when the occupying SCAP bureaucracy was effectively dismantling and rebuilding Japan, the film can be seen as a reflection of a time and place when a nation's citizens desperately cling to a sense history and nobility. Kurosawa's own appreciation for Western storytelling takes the gangster figure as social tragedy and transplants it into a film where its protagonists attempt to reconcile the horrors of war with a dependent on the bottle.
Seasoned actor Takashi Shimura plays Doctor Sanada who eclipses his ambitions with reluctant yet earnest charity when he encounters a wounded gangster Matsunaga, played…
Long before Red Beard Akira Kurosawa tackled the subject of a conflicted doctor in Drunken Angel. A film which easily ranks amongst the director's finest films and feels like a true maturation of an auteur. I think I mentioned in my review for No Regrets for our Youth that that film marked when he first started to emerge as the great film maker we know and love. I think Drunken Angel is Kurosawa finally bursting forth from that cocoon and showing the world just how much of a cinematic force he is.
A Year of Kurosawa - Movie #3
A story of a tumultuous but genuine relationship between two complex men. Two great performances and some wonderful character traits bring the leads to life.
This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Matsunaga and the high school girl appear in the film as binary stances of Japanese society after World War II, one which is pressured by old values and holds on to tradition, and the other which is more willing to adapt to a changing culture. While Matsunaga is a young man himself, he is old enough to have been brought up in a culture which strictly follows a somewhat outdated code. This gangster culture represents feudal Japan, which remains unflexable to the influences of those who are outsiders. Because of this, he is unable to admit he is becoming weak due to his illness, and in his moments of attempting change, the pressures of his gangsters boss force him back…
Thoughts: Mifune is on fire, as is Kurosawa. No wonder they went on to make 15 more films together. "Minor" my ass.
A bit more here.
Kurosawa films: very watchable and very entertaining. Rarely do they get boring.
This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
NOTE: This review was originally written for a comedy webforum. Any references to "SomethingAwful" or "threads" or "boards" stem from that.
A very interesting film! I was very much a fan of the intertwining story arcs of Matsunaga, his crime boss Okada, and Doctor Sanada. If I had to sum up the overarching theme of the film, I'd have to go with "you can't win 'em all".
Matsunaga's whole progression from tough-talking street thug through his illness, and the, sadly prematurely cut short, redemption is really quite powerful. When the film opens he is 100% solidly assured of his place in the world. Yeah, he has higher ups, but the one he respects most is in jail and there really…
Really like the way music is used in the first half of the film. We only really hear a guitar player in the distance, then when a certain character arrives he demands the guitar, plays his own intro music, and the movie shifts. Then in the jazz club a big number shifts the action again.
Nice performances from Kurosawa's two mainstays, and I like where the story goes as well. I got Eraserhead vibes too from the many scenes of the swamp and Mifune's poofy hair in his first drunken scene.
Not Kurosawa's best, but a very engaging affair with a strong message and authentic characters. A few minor pacing issues and some soap box politics aside, this is a grand beginning to the Kurosawa-Mifune team up that would give us so many brilliant features throughout the years.
UPDATED: January 28, 2016
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