Shizukanaru ketto (The Quiet Duel) (A Silent Duel) (1949)
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Critic Reviews for Shizukanaru ketto (The Quiet Duel) (A Silent Duel)
Audience Reviews for Shizukanaru ketto (The Quiet Duel) (A Silent Duel)
This is one of those stories that only makes sense in Japan, and even then only in a certain era. A doctor contracts syphilis when he cuts his finger during an operation but is too ashamed to admit it to anyone, including his fiance who he dumps to save her the pain of waiting for him to be cured. The level of quiet self-sacrifice and honorable silence makes this film probably the only Kurosawa film dealing with issues that only make sense to a Japanese audience. I also suspect the subtitles let me down since they refer often to terms in a way that makes me suspect they have a different nuance in Japanese than English. The only really interesting character is the nurse, who starts off as kind of a selfish bitch, but ends up really caring about the doctor and working hard to become a nurse full time. This makes it one of the few movies I've seen where Toshiro Mifune is upstaged by another performance. In his previous work for Kurosawa he played a secondary character so well that he became the main focus of the film.
A heartbreaking story and beautifully captured, too. Kurosawa proves he can move masterfully into whatever genre he'd like. This time its a medical drama that features several fantastic scenes, including one especially brilliant one where Mifune breaks down from his stoic facade to display the roiling emotion beneath the doctor character and how conflicted he really is. At that moment, the "quiet duel" is at its loudest, and most potent, peak. The characters here are few, but all fully fleshed out and explored as the drama unfolds. This is definitely one I'd recommend to people if they're looking for something serious and powerfully moving.
another kuro-san classic. the subject matter is engaging and the love story draws in an appropriate amount of sentiment.
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