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Red Beard (Widescreen) [Subtitled] [Criterion Collection]

25 customer reviews

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  • Red Beard (Widescreen) [Subtitled] [Criterion Collection]
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Product Details

  • Actors: Toshirô Mifune, Yûzô Kayama, Tsutomu Yamazaki, Reiko Dan, Miyuki Kuwano
  • Directors: Akira Kurosawa
  • Writers: Akira Kurosawa, Ryûzô Kikushima, Hideo Oguni, Masato Ide, Shûgorô Yamamoto
  • Producers: Ryûzô Kikushima, Tomoyuki Tanaka
  • Format: Anamorphic, Black & White, DVD-Video, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: Japanese
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • MPAA Rating: UNRATED
  • Studio: Criterion
  • Release Date: Oct. 1 2002
  • Run Time: 185 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000067IY6
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #32,900 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)
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Product Description

Product Description

A testament to the goodness of humankind, Akira Kurosawa's Red Beard (Akahige) chronicles the tumultuous relationship between an arrogant young doctor and a compassionate clinic director. Toshiro Mifune, in his last role for Kurosawa, gives a powerhouse performance as the dignified yet empathic director who guides his pupil to maturity, teaching the embittered intern to appreciate the lives of his destitute patients. Perfectly capturing the look and feel of 19th-century Japan, Kurosawa weaves a fascinating tapestry of time, place, and emotion.

Featuring the final collaboration between esteemed director Akira Kurosawa (Kagemusha, The Seven Samurai) and actor Toshiro Mifune (Yojimbo, Hell in the Pacific), this 1965 film explores the complex and tumultuous relationship between a doctor and his protégé, and the meaning of compassion and responsibility. Mifune plays the title character, a revered but stern and unbendable physician ministering to the poor in a clinic, driven by a sense of calling to the profession of medicine and to mankind. He is assigned a young brash intern whose rebellious and arrogant attitude threaten to disrupt the hospital and destroy his burgeoning career. Under the intense tutelage of the relentlessly stern doctor, however, the young doctor in training goes from a spoiled wunderkind insulted at having to work at a clinic he thinks is beneath him, to one who appreciates the compassionate nature of a doctor's calling. A long, intimate, and engrossing film, it displays some of Mifune's finest work as a man whose profound sense of higher purpose touches all around him. An earnest exploration of duty and honor, Red Beard is an unlikely but worthy addition to the enduring legacy of Akira Kurosawa. --Robert Lane --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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By A Customer on April 29 2004
Format: DVD
For those of you who don't know, Red Beard is without a doubt the last film of Kurosawa that is absolutely exceptional. Moreover, this film marks the end of many things for the director. First of all, this is the last movie where he works with Mifune. He spent nearly two years making this! It's understandable that they probably had their differences, which must have put quite a strain in their relationship. Red Beard is also Kurosawa's last black and white film. To most film fans of this genre, this is believed to also be his last film that shows so much emotion and complexity towards humans. One of the things I enjoyed most about this film was the cinematography. There are so many awesome scenes that Kurosawa films through wide lenses and long takes (Which I love). The musical score varies in emotion. This also has one of my favorite endings from a Kurosawa movie. While Seven Samurai had to be one of his best, this one was made after more than twenty years of experience from the most famous director in Japan, if not the world. In other words, Red Beard is the highest point of cinematic perfection for Akira Kurosawa.
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Format: DVD
In addition to being about the relationship between the young and old doctors, "Red Beard" is Kurosawa's can-opener for the Japanese psyche, with which he gently urges very private people everywhere to recognize how many hold deep hidden suffering inside them, which makes them ill, and the value of sharing those secrets.
Again and again, the movie is about how hidden secrets make people sick, and how the old doctor can intuit the presence of these secrets and give patients some way to relieve them.
This may be considered the deep subtext of the film, beneath the coming-of-age drama that centers on the young doctor.
The film is beautiful, strikingly directed and acted, with moments that are amazing cadenzas of acting skill, where the director allows the actors to show how much they can make out of an emotion through their body-language.
It may also appear heavy-handed and obvious at times to Western viewers, who have had a hundred years of Freudian exploration of psychosomatic medicine. But if I understand the context, Kurosawa is asking many of his Japanese viewers to consider for the first time the enormous hidden harm caused by physical and sexual abuse, extreme poverty (and extreme wealth), some uses of traditional authority, patriarchial attitudes, the prideful identification with a dead aristocracy, government policies that punish the poor, broken and bruised hearts resulting from complicated and entangled relationships, resourcefully anti-social adaptations to oppression, and other dark shadows beneath the enameled glaze of contemporary Japanese complacency.
Forgive me if that sounds overstated. But watch for it just under the surface of the fllm, again and again, and increasingly as the film goes on.
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By A Customer on May 24 2003
Format: DVD
This is simply the best film I've ever seen in my entire life. I've studied the films of Kurosawa Akira thoroughly and my opinion remains deeply rooted.
In a previous review of Akahige, one person mentioned the scene in which the the maids and Otoyo are screaming Chobo's name down the well. This person said this was the best scene. I have to disagree because it makes the viewer think too much about the camera, sucking the emotion out of the scene and replacing it with curiosity as to how the scene was filmed. This is a problem that occurs over and over and over again in the Wachowski brother's Matrix films. The viewer thinks about how it was really accomplished, not about any sort of sentimental value.
Other than that scene, which, actually, I believe is the worst scene, the movie is so great that it can hardly even be described in words alone. In fact, it can't because words and cinema are two different things. Watch this movie.
Just to give a little historical background, this is the final collaboration (made in 1965) between Kurosawa Akira (said to be the greatest director ever) and Mifune Toshiro (said to be the greatest actor ever). I'd also suggest watching the rest of Kurosawa Akira's films first, especially Drunken Angel, which happens to be the first time Kurosawa Akira and Mifune Toshiro worked together.
Kurosawa had never really been impressed by any actor/actress before he met Mifune. He claimed that Mifune could do in one movement what a normal actor would take three movements to express. He had just been discharged from the Japanese military and starred in half of Kurosawa Akira's films, which is quite a lot.
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Format: DVD
I dare you people out there. Kurosawa's most inspiring work is one breathtaking 3 hour ride into the hearts and minds of clinical doctors that has still not been matched by any ER episode. Every frame in this piece looks and feels beautiful, and thank you to Criterion for doing so. I haven't seen a Kurosawa film that has been remastered to this degree. It will be a hard one to follow-up on quality. I actually would recommmend this film to people who loved Amelie. Why? Both are incredibly inspiring movies, but Red Beard is on the other side of the spectrum. It deals with death, despair, incurable illness within the heart, but by the end of the film, you are more inspired by the will to live, to make something of yourself that you never felt before. That is what Kurosawa wanted to make, and he truly went for it on his last black and white film. The irony of what happens 5 years later. He was only human as we were. We love and miss you Kurosawa-Kantoku.
Best shot/sequence:
Here's where Kurosawa does his best. The scene where Chobo is dying and the maids are yelling down the well, the camera tilts down from the faces of the maids into the reflection of water at the bottom of the well, but gives the illusion that the camera has shifted to the bottom of the well looking up at the maids. With a single teardrop from Otoyo hitting the face of the water, then we realize that the camera is actually hidden above them. Genuine masterwork.
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