ACF Asia #8: Drunken Angel


So here’s more Kurosawa–the doctor and the gangster, a story about Enlightenment, equality for women, American influence in post-war Japan more broadly, the importance of science for the modern regime, and of course we make some notes about the way we are ourselves now rebelling against the authority of doctors. This was Kurosawa’s first movie with Toshiro Mifune, who runs away to the story, to the point that people put his face on the poster, though he’s not the titular angel!


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  1. LC Member

    In my need to watch all Kurosawa films, I only watched this film a couple of years ago. I enjoyed it a lot. Watching Toshiro Mifune in this, it’s so clear why he would become a star. He makes such a big impression given that it’s so early in his career. 

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  2. Titus Techera Contributor
    Titus Techera

    Yeah–you see how he makes use of his scenes & the dramatic setting–as well, how the camera frames him. You get to see gradually what makes for a Romantic hero, the combination of innocence & fury. He’s so knowing facing the doctor, so ignorant facing the yakuza. It’s very difficult to put those contradictions together in a performance, but his energy goes a long way to persuade you that there’s more to him than any scene reveals…

    That said, glad to hear you’re such a Kurosawa fan, LC! I hope you’re doing well!

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  3. LC Member

    You too, Titus!

    Kurosawa is likely my favorite director, or at least in my top 3. My top film oscillates between 5 films, but I usually say Seven Samurai is my favorite film of all time. 

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  4. Titus Techera Contributor
    Titus Techera

    Just watched that again–been watching a lot of Kurosawa & thinking about his two actors, Takashi Shimura & Toshiro Mifune: Drunken Angel, Stray Dog (next podcast), Rashomon, High & Low, The Bad Sleep Well, & indeed Seven Samurai. There are, of course, others–Scandal & Quiet Duel, for example–since Shimura acted in even more of the movies than Mifune… He has parts in Hidden Fortress, too, Yojimbo & Sanjuro as well…

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