Drunken Angel (1948)

Not Rated   |    |  Crime, Drama, Romance

Drunken Angel (1948) Poster

A drunken doctor with a hot temper and a violence-prone gangster with tuberculosis form a quicksilver bond.


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25 April 2015 | Leofwine_draca
| Simple tale underpinned by fantastic performances
DRUNKEN ANGEL sees the master of Japanese cinema, Akira Kurosawa, on solid form in the simplistic tale of the developing friendship between an alcoholic doctor and a dying gangster who comes to him for help. While the story is set very noticeably in a poor, run-down, post-WW2 Japan, the story is one which brims with life and vitality, which is somewhat ironic given the subject matter.

The calibre of the acting is second to none which is no surprise for fans of the director. Takashi Shimura underpins the whole thing as the titular character, a stressed-out doctor battling the bottle as well as the problems of his various associates and patients, but it's Toshiro Mifune who gives the stand-out turn here. This was the star's first collaboration with Kurosawa and it comes as no surprise that the pair would go on to re-team many times in the future. Mifune's performance as the small-fry gangster, addicted to drinking and partying and yet suffering from the effects of tuberculosis, is one of his greats.

Kurosawa's cinematography is another winner here, and there are some fine moments of tension including a great, extended fight scene at the climax. My favourite moment is a bizarre dream sequence in which Mifune is chased along a beach by a corpse only to find himself trapped in a slow motion run. It's one of the few times that the director went for outright horror (along with THRONE OF BLOOD) and it makes me wish he had made an all-out horror film at least once in his career.

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$15,942 28 July 2002

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:


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