IMDb > The Quiet Duel (1949)

The Quiet Duel (1949) More at IMDbPro »Shizukanaru kettô (original title)


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Release Date:
30 November 1979 (USA) See more »
A surgeon gets syphilis from a patient when he cuts himself during an operation. The doctor's life is destroyed, but unlike the patient, he doesn't destroy others along with him. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
1 win See more »
User Reviews:
Glimpses of things to come in early Kurosawa See more (11 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Toshirô Mifune ... Dr. Kyoji Fujisaki

Takashi Shimura ... Dr. Konosuke Fujisaki
Miki Sanjô ... Misao Matsumoto
Kenjiro Uemura ... Susumu Nakada
Chieko Nakakita ... Takiko Nakada
Noriko Sengoku ... Apprentice Nurse Rui Minegishi
Jyonosuke Miyazaki ... Cpl. Horiguchi
Isamu Yamaguchi ... Patrolman Nosaka
Shigeru Matsumoto ... Boy with appendicitis
Hiroko Machida ... Nurse Imai
Kan Takami ... Laborer
Kisao Tobita ... Boy with typhoid
Shigeyuki Miyajima ... Officer
Tadashi Date ... Father of boy with appendicitis
Etsuko Sudo ... Mother of boy with appendicitis
Seiji Izumi ... Policeman
Masateru Sasaki ... Old Soldier
Ken'ichi Miyajima ... Dealer
Yosuke Kudo ... Boy
Yakuko Ikegami ... Gaudy Woman
Wakayo Matsumura ... Student Nurse
Hatsuko Wakahara ... Mii-chan

Directed by
Akira Kurosawa 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Kazuo Kikuta  play
Akira Kurosawa  writer
Senkichi Taniguchi  writer

Produced by
Hisao Ichikawa .... producer
Sôjirô Motoki .... producer
Original Music by
Akira Ifukube 
Cinematography by
Sôichi Aisaka 
Film Editing by
Masanori Tsujii 
Art Direction by
Koichi Imai 
Sound Department
Mitsuo Hasegawa .... sound
Camera and Electrical Department
Tsunekichi Shibata .... lighting technician
Isamu Shima .... still photographer
Crew believed to be complete

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Shizukanaru kettô" - Japan (original title)
See more »
95 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Filming Locations:

Did You Know?

This was Akira Kurosawa's only collaboration with famed film composer Akira Ifukube. The two clashed intensely over creative differences during filming.See more »
Dr. Konosuke Fujisaki:If he had been happy, he might have become just a snob.See more »


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12 out of 14 people found the following review useful.
Glimpses of things to come in early Kurosawa, 18 June 1999

The Quiet Duel features Mifune's second role for Kurosawa, as a young doctor who contracts syphilis from operating on a patient in WWII South Pacific. This alone constitutes the opening and perhaps most riveting sequence of the film. In the little shack where the operation take place, effects of irritation and discomfort hit a high note with the leaking roof, pestering flies, and assaulting humidity. This shabby condition breaks Mifune's concentration and leads him to cut himself in the patient's infected blood. There is much beautiful play of light and shadow across the virginal white uniforms of the doctors.

When Mifune goes back to his father's (Takashi Shimura) medical practice in Japan after the war, the film staggers in cajoling our empathy for the hero's incredulous dilemma: How to protect his fiancee - whom he has kept waiting for six years during the war - from the syphilis he contracted abroad, yet to be honest with himself and his own physical desires. The movie strives to be the tragic love story of a sexually unfulfilled man, an Unjustifiably Tainted Virgin who pains in silence. He is so saintly that his self-denial (abstinence) inspires a single mother (Noriko Sengoku) to become a certified nurse. Despite relatively good performance from the actors, the story of a saintly individual done wrong by a disease that is symbolically social restricts itself to melodramatic proportions.

Thankfully, there is a subplot involving the patient, aka the agent of Doctor Mifune's syphilis. As irresponsible (and promiscuous) as he is, he gives syphilis to his own wife and this ends ups killing their first born. The wife is a victim in the sense that Mifune contracted his disease, and much of Kurosawa's famed humanism involves the wife's recovery from her stillborn and the promise of her eventually ridding syphilis.

This film was made just after several labor strikes broke out at Toho, Kurosawa's home studio. The strikes had devastating effects on the unity and creative synergy of film talents in Japan then, and Kurosawa made this '49 film under Daiei-- with a relatively inexperienced production unit and using a contemporary stageplay that would not alienate moviegoers. The result is vastly uneven, aside from the fantastic opening that is classic Kurosawa. Further, this film continues the cultivation of a Kurosawa-obsession: that of a saintly doctor who, despite his own faults, tries to be his most honest with the world. This can be first seen in Drunken Angel's Dr. Sanada, and later - most memorably - in Red Beard's Akahige/Dr.Niide.

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