One of the few lesser films by Kurosawa, it's still worth a watch for Mifune's performance alone. His monologue near the end is amazing to watch and shows the testament to him as an actor with astounding range.
I went into this film with lowered expectations hearing it was lesser Kurosawa but I was very pleasantly surprised! The story was very subtle and Mifnue's (who was fantastic as always) inner turmoil was painful to watch develop and sublime in it's conception. Interesting that both of the films Kurosawa made in 49 (Stray Dog) deal with good men who through one small mistake cause great hardship and difficultly. Loved.
The performances and direction are on par for Kurosawa but the sold melodrama seems off. Maybe it's the editing or the fact that after the superb beginning (one of two great moments, other than the music box scene) the film begins to go downhill as the drama only halfway works. A solid but flawed Kurosawa film.
Take away the specific topics and this becomes little more than a trope-y melodrama, but what a topic. Syphillis and honour make a strange subject for a romantic drama, but they work well enough. I just wish Akira would have pushed a little further.
Considéré jusque dans les années 60 comme un dramatique fléau social, la syphilis n'est ici qu'un épiphénomène du questionnement cinématographique du réalisateur qui pose en fait les incontournables et cruciales interrogations sur le désir et la morale, l'égoïsme et la compassion, le souhait de fonder une famille et l'intégrité physique de l'autre. www.cinefiches.com