Friday, March 12, 2010

Takashi Shimura--b. March 12, 1905

One of our favorite actors here at Monsterland Ohio, Takashi Shimura, was born on this date in 1905. His portrayal of Dr. Yamane in Godzilla (1954) is possibly his most well known role to Western audiences, and he brings a certain gravity and conscience to the unusual proceedings. The role that might rival Dr. Yamane in terms of Western recognition would be that of Shimada, the honorable leader of the Seven Samurai in 1954's "Shichinin no samurai." But his greatest acting achievement would certainly have to be "Ikiru," (1952) in which he plays Watanabe, the government worker who, because of his imminent death, learns what it means "to live." (There are no monsters, samurai, or explosions in this film, but if you are a fan of movies in general, you simply must see "Ikiru"--it is cinema you will think about for a long time.) In our estimation, Takashi Shimura is one of the most likable and compelling actors ever to grace the silver screen. He passed away February 11, 1982.

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