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A Silent Duel - DVD review (4 stars)

Yume Pictures/DVD Retail

A Silent Duel - DVD review

Akira Kurosawa was, more than most, a director who worked both in miniature and epic form. Where Ikiru, Dodesukaden and Madadayo cover the intimate, there are also the many epics, from Seven Samurai to Yojimbo, Kagemusha to Ran offering something more expansive. Silent Duel falls into the former category. Adapted from a play by Kazuo Nikuta, the film is a succinct piece of spiritual uplift as a young army surgeon (Toshiro Mifune) has blood on more than his hands after a messy operation where the syphilitic patient manages to pass the disease on to the doctor. How does this affect his life in postwar Japan, suffering from an illness with no immediate cure? That is pretty much the film’s subject, as Kurosawa rarely leaves the surgery and focuses on the large emotions in small-scale form in this minor work from 1949. Minimal extras. (Tony McKibbin)


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