Saturday, September 08, 2007

The film that has everything

I have to work today and thus will likely miss watching MY BELOVED OREGON DUCKS during their trip to Michigan to face a Wolverines team still smarting from a monumental upset.
That's not altogether bad -- me missing the game -- as I always fear I will jinx my favorite teams if I watch them.
Luckily, I have no such fears about watching my favorite films.
I watched Akira Kurosawa's "Nora Inu (Stray Dog)" on DVD again last night. This 1949 crime drama is probably my favorite film (although I have so many iron-clad favorites, such a designation is probably moot).
The film, I decided, has just about everything a cinematic work could ever need:
1) It has an engaging story of a rookie detective (Toshiro Mifune) who has his gun stolen.
2) It has a wonderful cast, including Mifune, Takashi Shimura and Isao Kimura (pictured) in a small but influential role.
3) Kurosawa (no additional explanation necessary).
4) Great cinematography by Asakazu Nakai.
5) Compelling second-unit direction (particularly of black-market scenes) by Ishiro Honda -- later to find fame at the helm of "Gojira" and its spawn of "Godzilla" movies.
6) Baseball! A stakeout at a Giants v. Hawks baseball game provides a glimpse at such post-war stars as Tetsuharu Kawakami, the so-called "God of Batting" and a Yomiuri Giants legend as both a player and manager.
7) Sex, crime, action, cute kids, etc. and etc. -- you know, all of the other things a great film should feature.
After about the 100th time of muttering, "Gosh, I love this film," I concluded that "Nora Inu" surely must have everything. At least, everything I need in a film.
Well, no need to worry about my being a jinx. I actually saw much of the first half on the newsroom television set and saw the second half at home as MY BELOVED OREGON DUCKS put a (rather satisfying) hurting on Michigan, 39-7. Ahh... Good times.


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