Monday, October 11, 2010

My Week of Movie Watching

Emperor of the North – I was a bit saddened because I didn’t love this movie quite as much as I wanted to. Two of the great alpha-male actors (Lee Marvin and Ernest Borgnine), starring in a film made by a great alpha-male director (Robert Aldrich)? It can’t miss, can it? Alas, it can. Borgnine’s train conductor is so over-the-top loony and sadistic that you can’t take him seriously, and the film didn’t seem to know what to do with Keith Carradine as Marvins’ tag-along. On the plus side, the climatic battle between Borgnine and Marvin is terrifically bloody and exiting. The two men run through a cartoonish assortment of weapons - Knives, clubs, chains…an axe. All of this on top of a speeding train. A lukewarm recommendation.

Drunken Angel – Akira Kurosawa really became a legend with the release of Rashomon in 1950, but the man was already an established filmmaker at that point. This one, from 1948, stars his two greatest stars, Toshiro Mifune and Takashi Shimura. Shimura is the angel of the title – A gruff alcoholic doctor who makes it his personal quest to save a tubercular gangster played by Mifune. As a general rule, I like Kurosawa’s “modern” films more, and this one is very good. Mifune stands out as a tough guy who makes a lot of noise about not wanting to be saved, but who always seems to turn up on the doctor’s doorstep. Recommended.


Squish said...

Aw yeah, props to the Drunken Angel! In my original review, I rated it rather poorly, but only due to the overdub. I hope to see the Criterion version one day, because it had the quintessential post-War Kurosawa touch. Wonderful!

Squish said...

Just a heads up buddy! I'll be doing a 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die Club, and I'd love if you'd post new or existing reviews, or even the behind the scenes and other neat little pic posts I'm accustomed to seeing on your wicked little site. keep visiting, I'll have a big bright banner up for quite a while.

Jeff Duncanson said...

I will watch for that one, for sure.