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>
The main character was inspired by a real life alcoholic doctor working unlicensed in the Tokyo black market district that Akira Kurosawa and writing partner and childhood friend Keinosuke Uekusa came across. See more »
Even though the story takes place during the hot summer, breath can be seen coming from characters in several scenes. See more »
This is a strange film about a very committed but screwed up doctor in post-war Japan. The doctor lives in the slums of Tokyo and is amazed at the filth and widespread incidence of preventable diseases among the poor. While this is an important cause to him, so is getting drunk and screwing up his life. However, the doctor meets a young hoodlum, played by Toshiro Mifune, and he treats him even when the guy insists everything is just fine! And, at times afterwards, Mifune alternates from being thankful and decent to being belligerent and completely antisocial. Throughout the film, the doctor works hard to keep this unlikable character alive--despite it seeming pretty obvious that Mifune has a death wish. A fascinating and odd story about the relationship between two very oddly matched men.
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