7.5/10
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12 user 21 critic

The Quiet Duel (1949)

Shizukanaru kettô (original title)
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.

Director:

Akira Kurosawa

Writers:

Kazuo Kikuta (play), Akira Kurosawa | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Toshirô Mifune ... Dr. Kyoji Fujisaki
Takashi Shimura ... Dr. Konosuke Fujisaki
Miki Sanjô Miki Sanjô ... Misao Matsumoto
Kenjirô Uemura ... Susumu Nakada
Chieko Nakakita Chieko Nakakita ... Takiko Nakada
Noriko Sengoku Noriko Sengoku ... Apprentice Nurse Rui Minegishi
Jyonosuke Miyazaki Jyonosuke Miyazaki ... Cpl. Horiguchi
Isamu Yamaguchi Isamu Yamaguchi ... Patrolman Nosaka
Shigeru Matsumoto Shigeru Matsumoto ... Boy with appendicitis
Hiroko Machida Hiroko Machida ... Nurse Imai
Kan Takami Kan Takami ... Laborer
Kisao Tobita Kisao Tobita ... Boy with typhoid
Shigeyuki Miyajima Shigeyuki Miyajima ... Officer
Tadashi Date Tadashi Date ... Father of boy with appendicitis
Etsuko Sudo Etsuko Sudo ... Mother of boy with appendicitis
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Storyline

In 1944, in WWII, Dr. Kyoji Fujisaki cuts his finger with the scalpel during a surgery in a field hospital and is infected by spirochete from his patient Susumu Nakada. After the blood test, he realizes that he has contracted syphilis, but he does not have the necessary medicine to treat the disease. He advises Nakada to seek medical treatment for his disease. In 1946, after the war, he breaks off his six years engagement with his beloved fiancée Misao Matsumoto but he does not tell the truth but lets her go and find another man to get married. The hopeless apprentice, nurse Rui Minegishi, witnesses Kioji injecting Salvarsan to treat his syphilis, and first she misunderstands why the doctor is sick. Later, after discovering the truth about his disease, she changes her behavior and becomes the confident listener of the doctor's inner feelings. When Kyoji accidentally meets Nakada in the police station of his town and finds that his wife is pregnant, he warns the reckless man about the ... Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Japan

Language:

Japanese

Release Date:

30 November 1979 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Quiet Duel See more »

Filming Locations:

Daiei Studios, Tokyo, Japan

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The Quiet Duel (1949) came in seventh on Kinema Jumpo's list of the Top Ten Films of 1949. See more »

Quotes

Dr. Konosuke Fujisaki: If he had been happy, he might have become just a snob.
See more »

Soundtracks

Bengawan Solo
Written by Gesang
(uncredited)
The melody's heard in the police station when Fujisaki talked to Nakata
See more »

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User Reviews

 
well-acted melodrama that isn't one of Kurosawa's best
2 August 2008 | by Quinoa1984See all my reviews

Every Akira Kurosawa film is at least interesting, and even in a work like The Quiet Duel, which is designed possible as something of a 'minor' work in the director's cannon, there's things about it that are striking and exceptional. The opening scene of the doctor, played by Toshiro Mifune, operating on the patient who will change his life forever, has a double-sided tension to it about not just the fate of the operation but of something else (this helps if you don't know what is going to happen). The way the scene is cut, the effect of the rain outside, the pan at the floor, the rain falling on the pan and making the one louder sound, it all amounts of a near-classic Kurosawa scene. This and the climax are, arguably, the best scenes of what is otherwise a good if shaky melodrama.

The problem might just be that I'm not tuned into this tearjerker side of Kurosawa, at least one that isn't as well-cooked, so to speak, as some of his best efforts. The premise is really good, as a doctor contracts syphilis by a mistake while operating on a patient during the war, and has to treat himself with medicine and cannot find a way to tell his to-be wife about his ailment (or, in fact, why he cannot marry). And saying that this isn't entirely 'well-cooked' is to say that the premise, while fascinating, doesn't entirely develop into a fully fascinating story. There are patches that seem to kind of coast, like something one might see on day-time television (not quite soap opera but close), and it's only in the last third that things really start to pick up dramatically.

Thankfully, Mifune is on his A-game as usual with his best collaborator at the helm, particularly in a scene where he (uncharacteristically for Kurosawa) breaks down in tears after seeing his once-possible-wife off to marry someone else, and there's a strange, cool mixture of musical instruments on the soundtrack- not quite what one would expect for a melodrama (i.e. xylophone, harmonica, harps, accordions). By the climax, as I said, it gets very good with the original patient Takata coming back in a drunken, syphilis-infected frenzy to the hospital. It just isn't enough, overall, to recommend it as highly as Kurosawa's best; Red Beard and Drunken Angel, also starring Mifune, are much better as medical/hospital dramas. 7.5/10


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