Stray Dog

Stray Dog

4.6 3
Director: Akira Kurosawa

Cast: Akira Kurosawa, Toshiro Mifune, Takashi Shimura, Keiko Awaji

     
 

Despite being considered Akira Kurosawa's first important film, the Stray Dog DVD is unfortunately one of the lesser Criterion releases. The print is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.33:1, but it is not in good shape. It does show some marks and lines, and the image flickers and fades on occasion. It is still probably made from the best print of theSee more details below

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Overview

Despite being considered Akira Kurosawa's first important film, the Stray Dog DVD is unfortunately one of the lesser Criterion releases. The print is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.33:1, but it is not in good shape. It does show some marks and lines, and the image flickers and fades on occasion. It is still probably made from the best print of the movie that exists, but Criterion has set the bar so high that now consumers expect all their releases to be nearly perfect. The disc's visual deficiencies are somewhat compensated by good supplementary features. It has an informative audio commentary by Stephen Prince, the author of The Warrior's Camera: The Cinema of Akira Kurosawa. Another useful supplement is a 30-minute documentary on the making of Stray Dog, a part of the Toho Masterworks series Akira Kurosawa: It's Wonderful to Create. It features interviews with a few of Kurosawa's surviving collaborators on that film: art director Toshiro Muraki, script supervisor Teruyo Nogami, and actors Keiko Awaji and Isao Kimura. The booklet that comes with the DVD includes a nice mini-essay by Terrence Rafferty and an excerpt from Kurosawa's book Something Like an Autobiography in which he reminisces about the filming of Stray Dog.

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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
A stunning piece of international film noir, Stray Dog is a superb early effort of the legendary Akira Kurosawa. Coming just before Rashomon, the film that would establish the director's name and standing worldwide, Dog is one of his lesser known works but worthy of its place in the top of his pantheon. Yes, there are some quibbles. Dog is a tad too long. It lacks the sweep and grandeur of Kurosawa's epics. It occasionally repeats itself. But these are minor flaws in a major work. Besides, any film that contains the amazing nine-minute, almost dialogue-free montage of the underworld of postwar Tokyo, filmed surreptitiously and using many unsuspecting "real" people rather than actors and edited with impeccable precision, would be worth any number of flaws. And there are other impressive moments, including an lovely moment in which the beautiful nighttime vista suddenly intrudes glowingly upon the lead character and the girl he wants to help him, or the final chase section, in which one realizes that all of the tension that has been built up and released in the preceding 100 minutes has only been an exercise in preparation for the unbearable tension of this climax. But Kurosawa is not working strictly from a technical standpoint. He has created characters that bear deeper examination and provide unexpected rewards, and has placed them in a story that allows him to probe the necessity of choices, the effect of society on criminality and the state of the Japanese psyche in 1949. He's aided by a dead-on cast, lead by the perfect Toshiro Mifune and Takashi Shimura. Mifune, young and hungry, is tightly coiled in Dog, a complicated mass of insecurity and bravado. Shimura plays the older and wiser partner as a living person, avoiding the clichés that are so often part of such characters. They are matchless performances in a dazzling film.

Product Details

Release Date:
05/25/2004
UPC:
0037429187920
Original Release:
1949
Rating:
NR
Source:
Criterion
Region Code:
1
Presentation:
[B&W]
Time:
2:02:00
Sales rank:
5,918

Special Features

New high-definition digital transfer, with restored image and sound; Audio commentary by Stephen Prince, author of "The Warrior's Camera: The Cinema of Akira Kurosawa"; A 32-minute documentary on Stray Dog from the series Akira Kurosawa: It Is Wonderful to Create, including interviews with Kurosawa, production designer Yoshiro Muraki, actress Keiko Awaji, and others; New and improved English subtitle translation; Optimal image quality: RSDL dual-layer edition; 16-page booklet featuring Akira Kurosawa on Stray Dog, from his book "Something Like an Autobiography" and an essay by film critic Terrence Rafferty

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Toshiro Mifune Murakami, the Detective
Takashi Shimura Sato, the Head Detective
Keiko Awaji Harumi, His Girl
Ko (Isao) Kimura Yusa, the Criminal
Reisaburo Yamamoto Hondo, the Suspect
Haruo Nakajima Man in Bar Fight (cut out)
Noriko Sengoku Girl
Minoru Chiaki Actor

Technical Credits
Akira Kurosawa Director,Screenwriter
Fumio Hayasaka Score Composer
Ishiro Honda Asst. Director
Ryuzo Kikushima Screenwriter
So Matsuyama Art Director
Shojiro Motoki Producer
Shinobu Muraki Production Designer
Yoshiro Muraki Production Designer
Asakazu Nakai Cinematographer
Yoshi Sugihara Editor

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Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. A Stolen Pistol [5:22]
2. Identifying the Pickpocket [3:33]
3. Tailing Ogin [9:18]
4. The Black Market [9:19]
5. The Mule [7:38]
6. Arms Identification [3:37]
7. Interrogation [7:49]
8. Baseball Game [10:07]
9. "Like That Rain-Drenched Cat" [5:53]
10. Looking for Yusa [8:58]
11. Après Guerre [6:46]
12. Another Victim [6:23]
13. A Showdown Nears [3:08]
14. Questioning Harumi [11:48]
15. Sato Gets Closer [7:34]
16. Three Bullets Left [3:56]
17. "28... White Linen Suit" [8:57]
18. Recovery [2:12]
1. "On the Threshold of Greatness" [5:22]
2. A Shift in Style/Changing Times [3:33]
3. Central Theme/Studio Politics [9:18]
4. The Black Market [9:19]
5. The Yakuza/Sound [7:38]
6. The Science of Ballistics [3:37]
7. Blocking/Master and Pupil [7:49]
8. Baseball/Yusa [10:07]
9. Sources for Yusa's Character [5:53]
10. "A World That Is Out of Kilter" [8:58]
11. Nature vs. Nurture [6:46]
12. Climate of Fear/Telephoto Lenses [6:23]
13. Ambiguity/Minoru Chiaki [3:08]
14. Composition/Symbolism [11:48]
15. Suspense [7:34]
16. Murakami's Isolation [3:56]
17. Kurosawa's Morality [8:57]
18. Coda [2:12]
1. Kurosawa Writes a Novel [5:06]
2. Capturing Postwar Japan [2:21]
3. Sets and Production [6:28]
4. Actors [8:10]
5. Kurosawa's Distinct Style [8:39]
6. The Film's Legacy [1:53]

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