the Looniverse!



directed by
Akira Kurosawa

The theme that keeps winding its way through Kurosawa's work:
how two adversaries are mirror images of each other, and essentially the same.
A minor Kurosawa? If so, still much better than the average "good" film.

To me, mainly of interest because it's a protest against the tabloid press. Kurosawa hated publicity and interviews.
"You want to know what I have to say, come look at my movies," about sums it up. Photographers he detested as well.
His movie still photographers had to improvise even worse than usual. They just didn't get a chance. No "time out for stills!" here -
they had to find some position to snap their shots during rehearsals and actual shooting. It often shows, too.
This in the days of the 4"x5" Speed Graphic cameras and 64ASA emulsions. The one thing these guys had going for them was
that all movies were dubbed, so the sync sound recordings made on the set were discarded later, shutter clicks and all.

Long since it has become as good as impossible to produce any commercial movie
without playing up to the yellow press mosquitoes, paparazzi and all;
one major reason for the decline of socially criticizing motion pictures.

Takashi Shimura (right) who had fine roles in virtually all Kurosawa's movies up to Akahige/Redbeard.


Produced by Shochiku
Japan 1950

122 minutes, B/W, Academy screen




art director
music by
Takashi Koide
Ryuzo Kikushima
Akira Kurosawa
Toshio Ukubata
Tatsua Hameda
Fumio Hayasaka
Ichiri Aoye
Miyako Sango
Hiruta, the lawyer
Masuko, his daughter
Sumie, Aoye's model
Hori, the publisher
Toshiro Mifune
Yoshiko Yamaguchi
Takashi Shimura
Yoko Katsuragi
Noriko Sengoku
Eitaro Ozawa
Bokuzen Hidari
Kunikuri Kodo


Painter Toshiro Mifune sues a magazine for printing a scandalous story that links him to a popular singer, then hires a lawyer of questionable motives to represent him. Akira Kurosawa's drama is filled with irony and wry commentary on Japan's acceptance of American culture. With Yoshiko Yamaguchi.
VHS In Japanese with English subtitles.

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