An alcoholic doctor builds a shaky friendship with a dying gangster
An alcoholic doctor builds a shaky friendship with a dying gangster
Michiyo Kogure Reisaburô Yamamoto Toshirō Mifune Takashi Shimura Chieko Nakakita Noriko Sengoku Shizuko Kasagi Eitarô Shindô Masao Shimizu Taiji Tonoyama Yoshiko Kuga Chôko Iida Ko Ubukata Akira Tani Sachio Sakai Tateo Kawasaki Mayuri Mokushô Toshiko Kawakubo Haruko Toyama Yukie Nanbu Sumire Shiroki Yôko Sugi
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…
the doctor and the gangster are so in love.
The first step in a vague New Year's resolution to fill in the gaps of my knowledge of Kurasawa in 2017 with a deep dive into his filmography. The only really enjoyable things about this film were seeing the great Takashi Shimura devour his role and watching the first screen appearance of Toshiro Mifune. Other than that, it's a tedious melodrama coasting by on the thinnest of plots.
The movie that started the legendary corroboration between Takashi Shimura, Akira Kurosawa and Toshirō Mifune.
The dream sequence,
the climax are pretty
impressive and theatrical.
Kurosawa's first film with Toshiro Mifune is an interesting one to say the least. The titular doctor tries to get a mid-level Yakuza to take his illness seriously, and give up his reckless lifestyle.
I really liked the setting of this film, a grimy, stagnant, post-war town in Japan. The core concept of a drunken doctor trying to effectively protect the townspeople from themselves was great, and I would have liked to have seen that explored a bit more. Having a poisonous swamp in the middle of the town wasn't the most subtle of metaphors, but I thought it worked great. There were a few digs at the American influence on Japan as well, but only in passing really.
Maestero Kurosawa's early films indicate how a great filmmaker was born and grew in his career. This film is one of his early urban films, with the same core concept of eastern wisdom. The doctor appears as another zen maestero, who knows the pain and remedy. On the other side the Yakuza is a angel in the frame of a saint: innocent, martyr and at the same time killer and destroyer. This contrast makes inside and outside characters make the story Worth following.
Drunken Angel (1948) Akira Kurosawa
Legendary director Kurosawa’s first of many collaborations with actor Toshiro Mifune is a wonderful Japanese film noir about Dr. Sanada (Takashi Shimura, above right), an alcoholic doctor in postwar Tokyo who treats a young hood named Matsunaga (Mifune, above left) for a gunshot wound to the hand. Sanada’s real concern is that Matsunaga has TB. The doc urges Matsunaga to stop drinking and smoking, but the hoodlum refuses to give up the yakuza lifestyle.
I’ve only scratched the surface of a film that’s as much about relationships as noir, touching also on the filthiness of postwar Tokyo, crime, and the economics of poverty. Drunken Angel is only Kurosawa’s seventh film, but already you can see that you’re watching a master at work.
Takashi Shimura's character Dr. Sanada certainly needs to work on his bedside manner. Doctor to a dying gangster played by Toshiro Mifune, these two men set out on a shaky and unlikely friendship. Unlike his later work which I have seen, this movie was gritty, enclosed and unrefined. This gave the film an authentic feel and added to the drama of Yakuza life versus the doctor's orders. In the end this was a movie that showcased the self destructive side of mankind and those people who try to battle that unfortunate side of human nature. I was not a huge fan of the climatic fight scene, but otherwise enjoyed this film. Tender and tense, Drunken Angel, is a solid noir-ish piece from the master himself Akira Kurosawa. If you are a fan of his this is a must watch.
Cool, moody gangster story with a great ending.
Arsaib Gilbert 1,166 films
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