A young doctor with hopes of being the Shogun’s personal physician finds himself assigned to a poor rural clinic lorded over by a stern, tenacious doctor played by Toshiro Mifune – the “Red Beard” of the title.
Initially the young doctor resists the assignment.
The story: Young samurai wanna-be's gather to naively plot action against a corrupt local clan. Before they can cause too much trouble, a wise old samurai played by Toshiro Mifune (Red Beard, Hidden Fortress, High and Low) takes them under his wing after saving them from certain death in a night-time assault by their enemies.
There is a scene in Kurosawa’s High and Low where police emerge from the house of a man, played by Toshiro Mifune (Red Beard), whose lost kidnapping ransom, paid to recover the son of his chauffeur, has caused his total financial ruin. Yet there he is, calmly mowing his lawn with his power mower, while his life collapses around him. He seems to be enjoying himself. Life goes on.
Visually, this Kurosawa film (Red Beard, Ikiru, Throne of Blood, Madadayo) as represented on this Criterion DVD is magnificent. The widescreen photography, action scenes, natural surroundings, and Toshiro Mifune's performance are all excellent.