[Ed. Note: Dr. KSS writes about medicine and biotech stocks for the Irregulars. He chooses his own topics, and his words and opinions are his own. His bio, past articles, and most recent comments can be seen here. Enjoy!]
OUT of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.
—-“Invictus,” William Ernest Henley
What’s the funniest movie ever made?
Each of us answers that question differently, and for most the choice changes as life does. Two decades ago, my answer was Fellini’s Amarcord. A decade ago, I said Bedazzled, the Dudley Moore/ Peter Cook saga about a Mephistophelian pact gone horribly awry (Peter Cook as Satan: “You just can’t find good sinners anymore. Must be the wages!”). For me now, not yet old but soon enough to move out of the MTV demographic, I’d now say the funniest movie I’ve ever seen is Kurosawa’s 1961 samurai satire Yojimbo….never, mind you, LOL funny, but so skewering in every frame of the genre it depicts that one grins throughout its entirety. A genre must be great and sober to lend itself to great skewering and send-up.
Yojimbo stars the great Toshiro Mifune, a man with perfect long bones, perfect teeth, perfect hair, tented cheekbones that the camera longed for, and with an emotional range onscreen never matched by another actor. Mifune was singled out by director Akira Kurosawa early in both their careers, and Kurosawa lensed him into permanent fame. Though Mifune could play modern Japanese men in domestic roles, however, his great strengths surged into focus in Rashomon, where he played a wayward samurai involved in a crime where the truth of the events resides with whom one asks. Rashomon revealed both Kurosawa and Mifune to be artists of enormous sophistication and subtlety. Mifune cultivated swagger ...
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