Akira Kurosawa taught me practically everything I know, and it was he who first introduced me to myself as an actor. He has this quality, this ability to bring things out of you that you never knew were there. It is enormously difficult work, but each picture with him is a revelation. When you see his films, you find them full realizations of ideas, of emotions, of a philosophy which surprises with its strength, even shocks with its power. You had not expected to be so moved, to find within your own self this depth of understanding.
— Toshirō Mifune
Drunken Angel // dir. Akira Kurosawa
In this picture I finally discovered myself. It was my picture: I was doing it and no one else. Part of this was thanks to Mifune. Shimura played the doctor beautifully, but I found that I could not control Mifune. When I saw this, I let him do as he wanted, let him play the part freely. I did not want to smother that vitality. In the end, although the title refers to the doctor, it is Mifune that everyone remembers.
His reactions are extraordinarily swift. If I say one thing, he understands ten. He reacts very quickly to the director’s intentions. Most Japanese actors are the opposite of this and so I wanted Mifune to cultivate this gift.
One of the reasons for the extreme popularity of this film at the time was that there was no competition – no other films showed an equal interest in people. We had difficulty with one of the characters: that of the doctor himself. Uekusa Jin and I rewrote his part over and over again. Still, he wasn’t interesting. We had almost given up when it occurred to me that he was just too good to be true – he needed a defect, a vice. This is why we made him an alcoholic. At that time most film characters were shining white or blackest black. We made the doctor grey.
Akira Kurosawa [x]
16 films that Akira Kurosawa and Toshiro Mifune made together. The greatest cinematic duo ever, IMO.
Toshiro Mifune and Akira Kurosawa in Venice, 1960
Toshirō Mifune in Stray Dog (1949)
Toshiro Mifune at home.
9 Favorite Photos of Toshiro Mifune
FUCK YES AUGUST 9th is going to be the best day ever on tv cause you know why? TCM is airing Toshiro Mifune movies ALL DAY. You can NEVER go wrong with a Toshiro Mifune movie. Omg I’m so excited.