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The Silent Duel [1949] [DVD]

3.8 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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  • The Silent Duel [1949] [DVD]
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Product details

  • Actors: Toshiro Mifune
  • Directors: Akira Kurosawa
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: Japanese
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Yume Pictures
  • DVD Release Date: 22 Oct. 2007
  • Run Time: 95 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000U0F5XC
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 78,716 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

This 1949 rarely-seen masterpiece from legendary director AKIRA KUROSAWA has never-before been released in the UK. During a life-saving operation young army surgeon Fujisaki (Mifune) contracts syphilis from a patient, a disease virtually incurable in 1940 s Japan, and is forced to abandon his own true love. Based on an acclaimed play by Kazuo Nikuta, THE SILENT DUEL marked the second of numerous collaborations between the director and leading man Toshiro Mifune.

Review

Classic Kurosawa --New York Post

Marks an important passage in Kurosawa's incredible career. --Herald Tribune

Mifune is simply superb! --DVD Talk

Marks an important passage in Kurosawa's incredible career. --Herald Tribune

Mifune is simply superb! --DVD Talk

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
In this film Kurosawa gives the world a sneak peek of his talent at an early stage (1949). It is a sign of how great he was about to become. Let me point out that The Silent Duel was made before most of the films the world knows Kurosawa for; just before Stray Dog and Rashomon, and years before Ikiru, the Seven Samurai and Yojimbo.

This is a simple story; if it played out in today's world (Japan or the West) a five minute conversation between the two main characters would bypass the need for 90% of the content of the film.

But that is indeed what make's Kurosawa a master: The time in this film is not now; it is then: 1944 and 1946: War and Postwar Japan.

Toshiro Mifune plays a humble, hard working war time surgeon who gets infected with syphilis through a cut while operating on a patient in the battle field.

He can't bring himself to tell his fiancé who has waited for him all throughout the war. The tension in fact is so high that he is prepared and actually calls off the engagement rather than disgrace her with the innocent facts.

Kurosawa portrays this time of life where it was more important that appearances stood out in front of reality or confronting facts. Simply put: saving face.

Syphilis was syphilis and it didn't matter how it was contracted. Mifune had already made his bride to be wait 6 years for him (complete with his pent up frustration of not being able "to be closer" to her) and was not prepared to let her wait any longer... even though it could possibly be cured someday down the road.

As such he martyr's himself in spite of his intended's persistent requests on finding exactly why he was he was calling off the engagement.

She does not give up easily on him.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I think after a while it becomes repetitive to say that how incredible the acting is in a Kurosawa film, particularly when Toshiro Mifune is involved but once again it has to be said. The Silent Duel certainly takes it's time with it's characters and it's probably the most restrained I've ever seen Mifune in a Kurosawa film but it build's to a payoff which to be honest I didn't see coming. His character seems almost resigned to being unhappy so it's surprising to say the least when he finally let's everything out in what may be one of the best scene's Mifune has ever done.

It was also interesting to see Takashi Simura playing Mifune's dad,I don't recall ever seeing them as father and son before and it always seemed like it would be a natural fit. Unfortunately Shimura doesn't have a huge amount of screen time but he does get one excellent scene with his son, there is a part where they both go to light each other's cigarrete's which had me grinning, seeing these two incredible actors sharing such a small quiet moment was great to see.

The scene at the start when Mifune actually gets Syphilis was interesting, it's set in a Japanese army field hospital and I found myself struggling to remember if I'd seen any film depict this aspect of Japan during the war. It's a horrible place and seeing as the film was made only 4 years after the end of the war you have to assume it's very authentic. The scene is so well shot and the noise of the rain and drops falling through a hole in the roof help to create a terrific atmosphere. Once again Kurosawa seems to be able to make you really feel the temperature whenever he want's. He does it so often it can seem like he doesn't even need to try.
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Format: DVD
The film is quite hard hitting in places but has a very nice story and is largely well-acted.
You can find good reviews of the film elsewhere.

The DVD release is regrettably sub-par in terms of sound and image quality.
I know for a fact that higher quality versions of this film exist outside the UK.
Yume (the DVD company behind this release) should be avoided, they are consistently low-rate.
Wait and this film will see a better release, hopefully on blu ray too one day.

It's okay if you're watching on a small screen, hence 2 stars not 1.

So in conclusion, film=good, dvd=bad.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Very moving and deep story. Amazingly directed. Not the usual pre-digested stuff you get from Hollywood.
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