Drunken Angel (1948)
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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. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi … More
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Critic Reviews for Drunken Angel
Considered by many to be Akira Kurosawa's directorial breakthrough, the movie that introduced Kurosawa the artist to the world.
It's effective in its own right and a fascinating preview of films to come.
Akira Kurosawa's first critical success (1948) is an odd blend of American film noir and Italian neorealism.
A combination of "Open City" and "Mean Streets", as well as Kurosawa's first movie and the first one to use Toshiro Mifune.
Nothing that hasn't been done before in Hollywood, and in many cases better.
Kurosawa's early stylistic experimentations turn a nightclub stopover into a monstrous parody of an American jitterbug dance-off, and when blood gets finally spilled, it's in a slip-and-slide Yakuza frenzy choreographed amid splattered paint.
Drunken Angel has also been cited by Kurosawa as the film in which the immature director finally 'discovered' himself. We can all be grateful for that self-discovery.
Audience Reviews for Drunken Angel
The genuine compassion of a drunk doctor and the false courage of a Yakuza patient with dishonest pride and reluctant humility, Drunken Angel is an exceptional satire of the unwarranted social-political system, Japan from Akira Kurosawa. Wise. Noble.More
a film that improves with each viewing. mifune and shimura always work well together, and the morality tale is well executed. simple but engaging, the film uses tragedy and frustration to announce human struggle and optimism. the film that really gave kurosawa his independence as a filmmaker, this is an excellently shot and well written film.More
A good realistic drama about doctors and about love and life. It's very interesting, I liked it.More
Drunken Angel will not go down as one of my most memorable Kurosawa viewings. To his credit, its one of his earlier outings and despite the fantastic chemistry between Toshiro Mifune and Takashi Shimura and some fantastic shots (any shot of the swap is magnificent) you can tell. The story between an alcoholic doctor and a tuberculosis-ridden thug never seemed to gain the momentum it needed to be noticably successful and despite the gradual return of Mifune's boss, it never seemed smoothly incorporated into the story. But that's just me. Not a bad watch and worth the time but not the most ideal starting point for someone beginning a Kurosawa quest.More
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