A Silent Duel (Shizukanaru ketto) is a full-length black and white Japanese film that was released in 1949. It was directed by one of Japan’s most famous directors, Akira Kurosawa. Kurosawa cast one of his most favored actors, Toshirō Mifune, in this movie, putting him into the role of a tortured doctor. A Silent Duel was made right after numerous strikes devastated the work force in Kurosawa’s film studio. It is interesting to note that a lot of the props and sets on A Silent Duel are the same as were in his previous movie, Drunken Angel. A Silent Duel may also be listed as The Quiet Duel.
The movie takes place in World War II. Dr. Fujisaki is a doctor working in terrible conditions. The roof leaks, there are flies everywhere, and the humidity is enough to drive anybody crazy. Fujisaki takes his attention off his work for only a moment and winds up becoming infected with some of his patient’s blood. He is disturbed to realize that he has caught syphilis.
He travels home to his father’s thriving practice and falls into a deep depression. He has prided himself on being a virgin and does not want to tell his fiancée about catching the disease, however accidentally. He is afraid that she will not want to marry him if she knows the truth. The one problem Fujisaki has is that he is a man with a man’s desires. He finds that he can not be honest with his fiancée and his physical desires at the same time. Because of this he vows to remain abstinent. A single mother is so touched by his vow that she decides to become a nurse.
The patient who gave Fujisake syphilis ends up giving it to his wife. She becomes pregnant and winds up having a still born child. Dr. Fujisake comes to her aide and helps her to recover from her loss, promising that he will cure her of her syphilis, all the while hiding and suffering from his.