This is a classic movie - by perhaps the greatest filmmaker of all time, Akira Kurosawa. Dr. Sanada, played by Takashi Shimura (the leader in Seven Samurai), treats a petty criminal named Matsunaga (Toshiro Mifune) with tuberculosis, and tries to get him to work at treating his disease (stop drinking, smoking, get some rest, etc.) Meanwhile, another gangster gets out of prison and a feud breaks out between rival factions. A cool look at the underworld in Japan in post WWII, and the courage of a poor doctor, who is trying to cure another human, even if he is a criminal. We regret that the subtitles are difficult to read - but the story is pretty easy to follow.
Directed by - Akira Kurosawa
(1948) - B&W - 100 min
Starts out with a small time gangster named Matsunaga comes to see Doctor Sanada in the middle of the night to remove a bullet from his hand.
Takashi Shimura as Dr. Sanada
Mr. Big gets out of prison, and is looking to regain control of the underworld business
The doctor deplores the squalid conditions and yells at some kids playing in dirty water - water that is a perfect habitat for germs and viruses. Then the doctor goes out to some sake lounges to find Matsunaga, his patient - and tells him he has TB. The gangster refues to listen, thinking he is too tough to get a disease.
With nice girls, who retain their honor
Sanada states: Being a doctor is ridiculous - we need sick people. Then we try to cure them. The doctor has a long scene with the woman who stays with him. The relationship seems paternal, and we learn she used to date an old gangster - the old boss who is about to be released from prison.
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Toshiro Mifune as Matsunaga
Well it seems the petty gangster is getting sicker and sicker with TB. And it is even worse since he continues to drink, stay out all night, and smoke cigarettes, instead of minding the doctor's orders. He comes back looking for more treatment - and Dr. Sanada continues to help him, and to help him help himself. Meanwhile, Mr. Big gets out of jail and meets with the petty criminal with TB to check how his operation is going.
The patients pull knives on the doctor!
Mr. Big of criminal underground meets some other thugs at the local sake lounge, and bordello. He is pretty excited, especially after all those years in jail. Meanwhile, the petty criminal gets sicker and sicker - and the boss loses respect for him as he succumbs to the illness.
And bad girls - who hang with gangsters!
The criminals begin to feud as a power struggle emerges. Mr. Big also learns that his old girlfriend now works with Dr. Sanada. And even though she admits that the gangster ruined her life, she is still somehow interested in him. Ah, the age old question - why do nice girls like bad boys?
The criminals meet in a final confrontation - a knife fight. but no big samurai swords. Who will win? Who will die? And will the doctor get caught in the middle? Watch the conclusion and see for yourself!