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…
Considered by many to be Akira Kurosawa's directorial breakthrough. Starts out promisingly, and well-acted. There’s a scene on a beach with a coffin that was striking. However it needed more story, simply presenting a drunk doctor, and a tuberculosis afflicted womanizer for 90 minutes was not enough to maintain my interest. Struggled to finish this one.
Favorite quote: “After spending time in jail, all girls look beautiful”
I can't believe how consistently good AK is.
Drunken Angel is fine...
but every once in a while...
A SCENE COMES OUT OF NOWHERE THAT FEELS LIKE IT SHOULD BE ABSOLUTELY ICONIC!!
I'm thinking specifically of the (incredible) dream scene and the final fight scene ending with the door opening the sunshine and the banister breaking.
Besides that, it's just kinda boring. And MAN that last scene feels unnecessarily tacked on to MAKE SURE the audience understands that there's no way a member of the Yakuza could ever be a good person.
Not the best Kurosawa, not by a long shot, but I'd say it's worth watching for its few high-points.
Besides the revered Rashomon, I've so far only watched Kurosawa's films chronologically in order of release, meaning I've only seen his films from the 40's, and none of his masterpieces.
I must admit, this endeavor has not been easy. Apart from the fact that many of his early films are prehistoric in nature and hard to digest, attempting to watch his films in this manner has given many of my friends cause to ridicule and chastise me.
But fuck y'all I'm experiencing the evolution of this maestro.
Case in point, "Drunken Angel" is a wonderfully paced film that highlights the director's growth in terms of cinematography and editing. The plot here is nothing special, but the camerawork is so beautiful…
Forgot to write this up. Details are fading, and I was sort of drowsy anyway, but it's best summed up by the fact that its two best sequences (surreal camera rush of the club dance and superimposed terror of the beach dream) have literally nothing to do with the narrative. And oh, what a narrative it is. This film has one of those doctors that get viscerally upset when their patients aren't taking tip-top care of themselves, even throwing plates at their heads. He's also one of those protagonists whose genius is intertwined directly with their hopeless alcholism, mostly played for laughs here, but obvious trope is obvious.
Color me surprised, then, when Drunken Angel, made a full year before Stray Dog, displays that very effortlessness and precision I found Stray Dog was lacking. Toxic masculinity as deadly but not altogether incurable illness? Loved it. Too bad the climax is drawn out beyond comprehension, and ends on a facile and unearned sentimental note. This is otherwise a top-tier work.
P.S. -- The primary on-screen revelation of this double feature was not Toshiro Mifune in his earliest performances, but a mid-career Takashi Shimura. One of the all-time greats.
I think Takashi Shimura might be my favourite Kurosawa actor. Of course, Toshiro Mifune is brillant as well. And he particularly shines here as a rough gangster suffering from TB whose inevitable fate catches up to him in a ghastly manner by the end.
Kurosawa's father died during filming, and as he was mourning, he heard The Cuckoo Waltz being played in background. This happy music made him even more depressed. He then decided to transpose this experience from his life into the film, by playing the exact same music during Matsunaga's low point.
This effect works very well. The film is definitely recommended viewing for Kurosawa enthusiasts, but casual viewers may benefit from viewing the master's more well known works instead.
Just a wonderfully simple story of a dying gangster and his up and down friendship with a troubled doctor .
This is classic Kurosawa, amazing cinematic atmosphere and loveable characters. Featuring , quite possibly, my favorite Mifune performance ever! The entire film is all a bit pessimistic and dire, but is sprinkled with humanity and beautiful moments reflecting life .
The man who accidentally became an actor continues to amaze us after all these years. Toshiro Mifune's perforce is wonderful, youthful, and powerful.
UPDATED: September 11, 2016
The Criterion Collection is a video distribution company that sells "important classic and contemporary films" in…