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Drunken Angel
     

Drunken Angel

4.5 2
Director: Akira Kurosawa

Cast: Toshiro Mifune, Reisaburo Yamamoto, Chieko Nakakita

 
Originally titled Yoidore tenshi, Drunken Angel was director Akira Kurosawa's first "auteur" project. "I finally discovered myself," he explained later. "It was my picture: I was doing it and no one else." Takashi Shimura plays an alcoholic doctor, running a fleabitten clinic in the slums of Tokyo. Shimura tries to pull himself together long enough to

Overview

Originally titled Yoidore tenshi, Drunken Angel was director Akira Kurosawa's first "auteur" project. "I finally discovered myself," he explained later. "It was my picture: I was doing it and no one else." Takashi Shimura plays an alcoholic doctor, running a fleabitten clinic in the slums of Tokyo. Shimura tries to pull himself together long enough to save the life of young hoodlum Toshiro Mifune. The doctor feels that, by saving Mifune, he is retrieving a portion of his own lost youth and idealism. Kurosawa later observed that he had trouble corraling Tohsiro Mifune's improvisational instincts, but that "I did not want to smother that vitality." The end result in Drunken Angel is a supremely satisfying blend of Mifune's rapid-fire excesses and Kurosawa's even-handed control.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Michael Costello
The breakthrough film for both Kurosawa and key collaborator and alter ego Mifune, it was heralded by Japanese critics as the work of a cinematic master. The story was originally to have centered around the heroic, alcoholic doctor (Takashi Shimura), who runs a clinic for the indigent on the outskirts of a Tokyo slum neighborhood, but Mifune made such a powerful impression on the director that he expanded his role, that of a tubercular gangster, shifting the film's focus to the relationship between them. The doctor sees something of himself in the hard-drinking, self-destructive yakuza, and tries to get him to reform. The young Mifune is forceful and charismatic; even just leaning against a wall he exudes energy. His delirious swing dancing in an American-style club is alone worth the price of admission. Like much of the semi-documentary material shot against the backdrop of the city, to Kurosawa, it's evidence of the depravity of Japan, now occupied by American troops, with native traditions and customs fallen by the wayside. Similarly, the director returns to a shot of a disease-ridden sump outside the doctor's office, like the gangster's tuberculosis, a metaphor for the condition of the defeated country.

Product Details

Release Date:
11/27/2007
UPC:
0715515026826
Original Release:
1948
Source:
Criterion
Region Code:
1
Presentation:
[Full Frame]
Time:
1:38:00
Sales rank:
43,633

Special Features

New, restored high-definition digital transfer; Audio commentary featuring Japanese-film scholar Donald Richie; A 31-minute documentary on the Making of Drunken Angel, created as part of the Toho Masterworks series Akira Kurosawa: It is Wonderful to Create; Kurosawa and the censors, a new, 25-minute video piece that looks at the challenges Kurosawa faced in making Drunken Angel; New and improved English subtitle translation; Plus: a booklet featuring an essay by cultural historian Ian Buruma and excerpts from Kurosawa's Something Like an Autobiography

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Toshiro Mifune Matsunaga
Reisaburo Yamamoto Okada, gang boss
Chieko Nakakita Miyo
Noriko Sengoku Gin
Takashi Shimura Dr. Sanada
Michiyo Kogure Nanae
Eitaro Shindo Takahama
Yoshiko Kuga Actor
Choko Iida Old Servant

Technical Credits
Akira Kurosawa Director,Producer,Screenwriter
Fumio Hayasaka Score Composer
Takeo Ito Cinematographer
Takashi Matsuyama Set Decoration/Design
So Matsuyama Art Director
Shojiro Motoki Producer
Shinobu Muraki Production Designer
Yoshiro Muraki Production Designer
Keinosuke Uegusa Screenwriter

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Drunken Angel
1. "You Call That a Nail?" [10:50]
2. Follow-Up [9:07]
3. The Past [7:14]
4. No Guts [5:05]
5. "Dirty, Stinking Angel" [4:35]
6. X-ray [6:47]
7. "The Killer's Anthem" [2:48]
8. Night Out [:08]
9. Emergency Patient [8:37]
10. Fear [7:47]
11. "Rotten, Maggot Infested" [2:59]
12. Okada's Woman [5:11]
13. Code of Honor [4:08]
14. Okada's Turf [4:42]
15. Confrontation [5:24]
16. "You Can Never Change Anyone" [5:57]
17. Hope [3:55]
1. Set Design and Production [9:14]
2. Toshiro Mifune [8:19]
3. Music [7:23]
4. Final Fight [3:01]
5. Drunken Agnel, the Play [1:43]
6. Images, Not Words [1:34]
1. The Censorship System [7:46]
2. Japan, 1948 [2:34]
3. Little Victories: Postwar Films Before Drunken Angel [2:18]
4. The Case of Drunken Angel [11:48]

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Drunken Angel 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago