Three bank robbers, Eijima, Nojiri, and Takasugi, flee the police and escape into the mountains. At an inn high in the Japanese Alps, Eijima and Nojiri encounter a young woman and her ... See full summary »
After a battle with rival criminals, a small-time gangster is treated by an alcoholic doctor in post-war Japan. The doctor diagnoses the young gangster's tuberculosis, and convinces him to begin treatment for it. The two enjoy an uneasy friendship until the gangster's former boss is released from prison and seeks to take over his gang once again. The ailing young man loses his status as gang boss and becomes ostracised, and eventually confronts his former boss in a battle to the death. Written by
Bernard Keane <BKeane2@email.dot.gov.au>
In early drafts of the script, the story was almost entirely about Doctor Sanada (Takashi Shimura) and Matsunaga the thug (Toshirô Mifune) was a small supporting part. However, Akira Kurosawa was so impressed with Mifune's performance that he greatly increased the Matsunaga part, to the point where the Doctor and Matsunaga are almost equal in screen-time. See more »
When Matsunaga wakes up in Nanae's bed, he has a wet compress on his chest, under the pajama shirt. When he sits up and takes it off, it is on top of his shirt. See more »
This good, if not great early Kurosawa is still rough around the edges and not free of obvious symbolism and narrative weaknesses. It all feels somewhat forced and not quite as fluent and natural as later works.
But, needless to say, there are always pleasures to be had from a movie made by this wonderful artist: Kurosawa favourites Shimura and Mifune (in his first teaming with Kurosawa) give their usual multi-layered performances, the mise-en-scène is superb, and a sound gimmick featuring guitar-playing is brilliantly used to enhance atmosphere.
In this instance, though, one cannot fully swallow the director's "life's a swamp but use your willpower and watch out for the silver lining"-attitude. He jumbled it this time. But glorious things would follow...
7 out of 10 buckets of immaculately white paint
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