Some things never change
paparazzi and celebs
never did mix well
Scandal is a film by Akira Kurosawa, from 1950. I remember reading Scandal by Shusako Endo, but I don’t remember being that impressed by it. However, this film is not based on that book, but written by Kurosawa himself who had strong feelings about the press of his time. Kurosawa’s regular two are in it, Mifune and Shimura, and another actor from Rashomon.
A handsome painter and a beautiful singer (played by Yoshiko Yamaguchi, also known as Shirley Yamaguchi, who really was a soprano singer as well as an actress) are caught together on the balcony of the latter’s hotel room. They’re merely having an innocent chat and then end up pointing at something in the distance. The painter, Mifune, had given the singer a lift to the hotel on his motorbike earlier after meeting her for the first time on the way there. Anyway, the pictures come out, creating a scandal and the painter sues the magazine responsible in court purely to prove a point about privacy. The only thing is his lawyer, who is in dire financial straits, is deceiving him after being bribed by the owner/editor of the paper to throw the trial. The lawyer has a very ill daughter to whom the painter is very kind and this affects the plot in that it influences the lawyer’s behaviour and his reason for accepting the bribe. I won’t say any more but it’s quite a good film.
The motorbike made me think of Marlon Brando. Both actors played their more famous roles during the 1950s (though of course Brando had that great Godfather role in 1972, while Mifune had Yojimbo and Red Beard in the early 1960s). Apparently, one thing Kurosawa considered a weakness in Mifune was his rough voice. I have to say I like his rough voice in the films I see him in. Scandal for example. The rough voice suits the motorcycle image. It suits his overall look as well. Then again, in Rashomon, his rough voice adds to his undesirable character so it’s not so appealing in that.
Paparazzi are still around of course, hunting down celebrities and so-called celebrities. That will probably never change.
Silence, another novel by Shusaku Endo, is due out soon in film form. Being directed by Martin Scorsese gives it serious appeal to start with but the story is quite interesting as it’s set in a period of Japan’s history when foreign and Japanese Christians were persecuted by the Shogun. Liam Neeson has definitely lost some weight for his role in the film. He also played a priest in an exotic location in The Mission, by Roland Joffé, in 1986 (great film and fabulous soundtrack by Ennio Morricone that I could listen to forever), almost 30 years ago (it will be 30 years by the time this film comes out), so this will be interesting for him no doubt.