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Yoidiro Tenshi
The Drunken Angel

directed by
Akira Kurosawa

A movie about a noble doctor, just like Redbeard. No problem per se. Kurosawa himself seems to have loved this one, but it's much too superstitious to my taste: "Will power will conquer every problem." Sorry, but it just ain't so. Strange enough, in a movie like High and Low Kurosawa seems to realize this quite well; to me, it's one main theme of that movie. Later, in Dersu Usala and Dreams he comes out with exactly the same nonsense again. I'll just quote a line or two and leave it at that.
Girl: Will power can cure TB, can't it?
Doctor: It can cure all human ailments.
Now, really. That's the final dialogue!

There is skeptical doubt in the movie, but to find it you'll have to see it. It's still worth it.
A funny thing here is that in 1949 Kurosawa ran into trouble with The Quiet Duel because, then,
he wanted to have Mifune go insane from syphilis, which medical experts agreed was not possible.
Looking at guys like Idi Amin and Henry VIII, you might well wonder what those doctors knew, anyway.

This movie has been compared to Vittorio de Sica's Bicycle Thieves because of its "neo-realism".
To my taste, Stray Dog comes much closer to that one, if only because of the plot resemblance.

Toho Co. Ltd.
Produced by Toho Co. Ltd.
Japan 1948

98 minutes, B/W, Academy screen
It should come as no real surprise that in 2005 director Martin Scorsese and actor Leonardo DiCaprio announced having a re-make of Drunken Angel in the works. Hollywood is almost as superstitious as you can get while remaining functional. Functional after a fashion only, that is. We await their efforts with unbated breaths.
As far as I can find out, the project fell through.



art director
music by

Shojiro Motoki
Keinosuke Uegasa
Akira Kurosawa
Takeo Ito
So Matsuyama
Kinzo Yoshijawa
Fumbio Hayasaka
Sanada, the doctor
Matsunaga, the gangster
Okada, the gang-boss
Miyo, the nurse
Nanae, Matsunaga's mistress
Gin, the bar girl
Takahama, the doctor's friend
The old servant
Takashi Shimura
Toshiro Mifune
Reisaburo Yamamoto
Chieko Nakakita
Michiyo Kogure
Noriko Sengoku
Eitaro Sindo
Choko Iida

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