High and Low

High and Low

4.3 8
Director: Akira Kurosawa

Cast: Akira Kurosawa, Toshiro Mifune, Kyoko Kagawa, Tatsuya Nakadai

     
 

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Based on King's Ransom, an "87th Precinct" novel by Ed McBain (aka Evan Hunter), High and Low stars Toshiro Mifune as Gondo, a wealthy industrialist. Gondo is contacted by a gang of kidnappers, who inform him that they've kidnapped his son. The crooks demand a huge ransom for the boy's return -- an amount so huge that it will utterly bankrupt Gondo. AsSee more details below

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Overview

Based on King's Ransom, an "87th Precinct" novel by Ed McBain (aka Evan Hunter), High and Low stars Toshiro Mifune as Gondo, a wealthy industrialist. Gondo is contacted by a gang of kidnappers, who inform him that they've kidnapped his son. The crooks demand a huge ransom for the boy's return -- an amount so huge that it will utterly bankrupt Gondo. As the harried businessman prepares to pay the ransom, he discovers that his son is safe at home: the kidnappers have accidentally snatched the son of his chauffeur. Does Gondo drop his payoff plans, or does he do the honorable thing and rescue his employee's son? This dilemma is but one aspect of the multilayered character study from the unbeatable team of star Toshiro Mifune and filmmaker Akira Kurosawa, who directs this superb film with his usual depth and impeccable eye for detail and character. As a man forced to make impossible decisions, Mifune gives a nuanced, perceptive and psychologically convincing performance. While not one of Kurosawa's master works, High and Low, with its grim reality and moral ambiguity stands as a superb example of film noir at its best. High and Low was originally released in Japan as Tengoku To-Jigoku.

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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Michael Costello
Kurosawa's adaptation of Ed McBain's police procedural is a Dostoyevskian morality play told with dazzlingly choreographed long takes. Toshiro Mifune stars as a business executive who begins to gather a ransom large enough to bankrupt his business after getting a note from kidnappers about a stolen child. When his son turns up, he realizes that it was his chauffeur's son who was abducted, and must decide what course to take. Kurosawa's films with contemporary settings have often dwelt on the corruption of the powerful, in particular on the world of business. But here, as the prerogatives of business clash with personal obligations, it's a businessman who must run the gauntlet of conscience. The film's first act, dealing with Mifune's discovery and tortured decision-making process is a tour-de-force of acting and direction, shot in master scenes whose fluidity is abetted by the mobility and lightness of the shoji screens separating the rooms of the spacious house. The latter part of the film, which tracks the police investigation, points up the collective nature of Japanese law enforcement and features excellent performances by Takashi Shimura and, in an early role, Tatsuya Nakadai. After opening in relative luxury high above the city, Kurosawa then immerses one in the grimy, tightly packed urban nightmare below. As the kidnapper confronts his victim in a shatteringly conclusive scene, he illustrates the gulf between the two.

Product Details

Release Date:
07/26/2011
UPC:
0715515085915
Original Release:
1962
Rating:
NR
Source:
Criterion
Region Code:
A
Presentation:
[Wide Screen]
Time:
2:23:00
Sales rank:
5,351

Special Features

Audio commentary featuring Akira Kurosawa scholar Stephen Prince ; Thrity-seven-minute documentary on the making of High and Low, created as part of the Toho Masterworks series Akira Kurosawa: It Is Wonderful to Create ; Rare video interview with actor Toshiro Mifune, from 1984; Video interview with actor Tsutomu Yamazaki; Theatrical trailers and teaser

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Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Toshiro Mifune Kingo Gondo
Kyoko Kagawa Reiko, Gondo's Wife
Tatsuya Nakadai Inspector Tokura
Yutaka Sada Aoki
Kenjiro Ishiyama Detective Taguchi
Ko Kimura Detective Arai
Takashi Shimura Director
Yoshio Tsuchiya Detective Murata
Hiroshi Unayama Det. Shimado
Tsutomu Yamazaki Ginji Takeuchi
Susumu Fujita Commissioner
Takeshi Kato Detective Nakao
Tatsuya Mihashi Kawanishi
Koji Mitsui Reporter

Technical Credits
Akira Kurosawa Director,Screenwriter
Eijiro Hisaita Screenwriter
Ryuzo Kikushima Producer,Screenwriter
Shinobu Muraki Production Designer
Yoshiro Muraki Art Director
Choichi Nakai Cinematographer
Asakazu Nakai Cinematographer
Hideo Oguni Screenwriter
Takao Saito Cinematographer
Masaru Sato Score Composer
Tomoyuki Tanaka Producer
Herman G. Weinberg Translator

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