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Drunken Angel VHS

VHS video


4.3 out of 5 stars 35 customer reviews

Product details

  • Actors: Takashi Shimura, Toshirô Mifune, Reizaburô Yamamoto, Michiyo Kogure, Chieko Nakakita
  • Directors: Akira Kurosawa
  • Writers: Akira Kurosawa, Keinosuke Uekusa
  • Producers: Sôjirô Motoki
  • Format: Black & White, Original recording remastered, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Rated:
    Parents Strongly Cautioned
  • Number of tapes: 1
  • Studio: Homevision
  • VHS Release Date: September 21, 2001
  • Run Time: 102 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars 35 customer reviews
  • ASIN: 0780023447
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #376,909 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

The chaotic worlds of the Japanese Mafia(Yakuza) and an alcoholic doctor collide in this film noir classic from Academy Award™- winning director, Akira Kurosawa. Gangster, Toshiro Mifune (Seven Samurai) visits doctor, Takashi Shimura (Seven Samurai), after an unfortunate incident with a bullet. The doctor who despises the Yakuza, discovers the young man is suffering from tuberculosis, a disease symbolic of what is happening to the doctor and the community he serves. Facing his own anger and fear, the doctor aligns himself with the gangster's world and destiny in an attempt to save both their lives. Drunken Angel is the film that started the amazing collaboration of Mifune and Kurosawa, and it was the first film in which Kurosawa had total control-laying the foundation of the auteur's career.

Upon its release in 1948, Drunken Angel was hailed in Japan as Akira Kurosawa's directorial breakthrough, comparable to Kubrick's Paths of Glory in the way it catapulted Kurosawa into a higher level of artistic achievement. Kurosawa himself noted, "In this picture I was finally myself. It was my picture. I was doing it and nobody else."

It is indeed an important, vital film, confidently conceived and expertly executed, illuminating themes that would dominate the finest films in Kurosawa's exceptional career. The setting is a rancid, jerry-built section of a postwar city, where a filthy, disease-ridden pond functions as a physical threat and also as the film's central symbol of decay. It's in this hardscrabble environment that a brash young gangster (Toshiro Mifune, in the role that made him a star) visits an alcoholic doctor (Takashi Shimura) to have a bullet removed from his hand. The doctor discovers that the hot-tempered thug is also doomed by tuberculosis, seen here as the physical manifestation of the gangster's moral decay. The doctor is himself diseased by his drinking, and as these clashing men struggle to make some kind of difference in their pathetic lives (spurned by the return from prison of a ruthless yakuza boss), Kurosawa makes unlikely heroes of them both--men who undergo a personal transformation in a vile and violent world.

Drunken Angel is a transitional film for Japanese cinema and especially for Kurosawa; it offers a vivid glimpse of postwar life (both rotten and restoring), and signals the full blossoming of Kurosawa's talent. And while the title role belongs to Shimura (so memorably poignant in Kurosawa's later masterpiece, Ikiru), the film belongs to the forceful presence of Mifune, whose vitality touches nearly every scene of this timeless and powerful drama. --Jeff Shannon

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