It's the early nineteenth century, and young Dr. Noboru Yasumoto has been summoned for a reason unknown to him to rural Koishikawa Medical Clinic from Nagasaki, where he has been stationed for three years completing his internship. The clinic, headed by the outwardly stern Dr. Kyojô Niide - nicknamed "Red Beard" for that attribute - under his very strict guidelines, treats the poor and disadvantaged of the region. Much to his surprise and dismay, Yasumoto is told he is to start work there immediately, staff, including doctors, living on site. As he was expecting a position as a physician for a shogunate in his privilege, Yasumoto shows his displeasure at this fate at every turn. He believes this fate was either orchestrated directly by Red Beard in solely wanting access to his detailed professional notes - Yasumoto believing he a much better doctor than his new, more experienced superior - or by the father of a female acquaintance in an effort to get rid of him. Yasumoto may get a ...Written by
Period construction of the hospital went as far as to use the right kind of aged wood that would have been used in the region at the time the film is set, per Akira Kurosawa's request. See more »
At the brothel where young Otoyo is being rescued: when Red Beard (Toshiro Mifune) prepares to step out of the brothel opening to confront the thugs gathered outside, from the inside camera view, right before he steps through the door flap, there are a couple of thugs standing just right outside the opening. But from the outside shot, which shows Red Beard stepping out, the nearby thugs have changed position, and are now standing much farther away from the opening. See more »
Akahige / Red Beard is 3 hours, 5 minutes long, but I strongly recommend it. It shows a definite maturity of style over Samurai (54), Throne of Blood (57), Yojimbo (61), to which it manages to subtly refer. In between was the slow-but-intense Crime/Class drama High and Low (63). Red Beard takes AK's observed modern style back to the feudal setting. One should set aside 4 hours for it, though, as you may need the break and, if you're like me, you'll want to see certain scenes again. Long composed/blocked shots and a "small" story make it seem slow, but I've found it fascinating all three times--rich in detail, with AK's familiar ensemble doing their best acting yet.
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