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High and Low

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High and Low (1963)

Rating : 8.3
Studio :
Crew : Kenjirô Ohmori / Teruyo Nogami /
Cast : Toshirō Mifune Tatsuya Nakadai Kyôko Kagawa Tatsuya Mihashi Isao Kimura
Genre :

An executive of a shoe company becomes a victim of extortion when his chauffeur's son is kidnapped and held for ransom.

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Cast

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Reviews

Paul Attanasio
2018/03/09

High and Low illuminates its world with a wholeness and complexity you rarely see in film.

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Keith Phipps
2018/03/09

While not a masterpiece on par with Kurosawa s best work, High And Low is a fine example of his craft, and further proof that it s not a few masterpieces but the overall scope of a career that defines a great director.

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A.O. Scott
2018/03/09

One of the best detective thrillers ever filmed.

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elvircorhodzic
2017/07/09

"...Success isn't worth losing your humanity..."---HIGH AND LOW is a mysterious crime drama about an ambitious director of the company for the manufacture of footwear, who becomes the target of a madman. The film is loosely based on the 1959 novel "King's Ransom" by Ed McBain. This is a story about morality and character, in which the crime is reconstructed to the smallest detail.Mr Gondo is a wealthy industrialist who 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. However, They have, by mistake, kidnapped son of his driver. The moral and character of Mr. Gondo come into question...Mr. Kurosawa has put a huge moral dilemma for the main protagonist in this film. He has managed to show the two faces of a rich man, through an excellent direction, a constant questioning of character and a thorough investigation of the crime.The excellent topics is simply connected to each other. The story moves from a complex and anxious melodrama into a good detective thriller. The reconstruction of the crime is almost perfect, and Mr. Kurosawa takes us through frequent streets and remote locations. The scenery is a very good characterization is, as usual, almost perfect.Toshiro Mifune as Kingo Gondo is a man whose life plan has collapsed in one minute. He is forced to make difficult decisions. His moral and character nuances come to the fore in those moments. Mr. Mifune has offered a very convincing performance. Tatsuya Nakadai (Chief Detective Tokura) has almost managed to steal the show, as a capable, persistent and helpful detective. Kyōko Kagawa as Reiko Gondo is, above all, a mother and her performance corresponds to that fact. Tsutomu Yamazaki as Ginjir? Takeuchi is the main kidnapper. The envy and hatred are the drivers of his madness.This is a tense detective thriller and a good overview of film noir too.

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WILLIAM FLANIGAN
2016/07/29

Hitchcock Japanese Style.---Viewed on DVD. Perhaps the best in the Kurosawa canon! A close to seamless cinema/home-video experience with suspense (the nail-biting kind), intrigue (the edge-of-your-seat kind), thrills (due to an excellent script with many NON-telegraphed twists and turns), terrorism, kidnapping, restrained but none-the-less powerful acting (mostly involving the director's acting troupe), etc. The black & white cinematography in ultra wide format (at least 2.35 to 1.0) is often startling with frames always fully utilized (side to side) by the Director. The music score underlines what is on the screen without drawing unnecessary attention to itself. There are many now classic cinema scenes. Those in the police station especially stand out. Every question you may have asked yourself while watching events unfold are methodically raised, explored, and addressed with reasoned discourse (by a cast of about 20 police officers and undercover investigators). Hitchcock Japanese Style And With A Vengeance! (You might want to watch it frequently with the subtitles off to expand your formal/informal Japanese comprehension.) WILLIAM FLANIGAN, PhD.

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jsiuda
2015/03/01

Gritty 60's Japan---I have long been convinced that the best film adaptations are when filmmakers take pulpy works--The Godfather, Jaws, etc.--and invest them with greater meaning. Exhibit A could certainly be this Kurosawa classic, based on Ed McBain's "King's Ransom", which takes a rather straightforward police procedural and transforms it into a powerful examination of moral culpability and the toxic effects of poverty. What I like most about this film--besides the gorgeous wide-angle compositions--is the deliberateness of it; Kurasowa never rushes as he follows the police tracking their quarry, a refreshing change of pace from the frenetic quality of so many movies today.

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gavin6942
2015/01/08

Kurosawa's Police Procedural---An executive of a shoe company (Toshiro Mifune) becomes a victim of extortion when his chauffeur's son is kidnapped and held for ransom.The first thing to notice is the interesting screen dimensions (which are handy for subtitles). Few films seem to have such a wide screen and narrow top-to-bottom height.The film is loosely based on "King's Ransom" (1959), by Ed McBain. Others see different influences. The Washington Post wrote of the film, "High and Low is, in a way, the companion piece to Throne of Blood—it's Macbeth, if Macbeth had married better. The movie shares the rigors of Shakespeare's construction, the symbolic and historical sweep, the pacing that makes the story expand organically in the mind." No matter what you see, this is definitely a strong addition to Kurosawa's resume, and a great police procedural that deserves more praise than it seems to get.

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Sergeant_Tibbs
2014/09/29

Set the bar for cop thrillers to come.---Even though Akira Kurosawa is mostly associated for his samurai classics, I'm really not a fan of them, besides his later opus Ran. I admire many of Kurosawa's techniques but I don't connect. High and Low is the first of his modern day films I've seen since Ikiru many years ago and although they're as respected but not as popular as his samurai films, I think I've found the niche where I love Kurosawa. The first hour is set in one place, boasting a riveting moral dilemma ripe for the textbooks. It's a fascinating psychological study to watch how protagonist Mr. Gondo's behaviour differs between the threat of holding his son hostage to the actual threat of holding an employee's son hostage, thanks to Toshiro Mifune's great performance. No matter what way the character plays it from there, the damage is already done and his vulnerability is revealed. It kind of makes you glad you aren't rich. This first half is ready for a stage adaptation and I wish it was the whole film as it relieves the tension mid-way. The rest of the film is a police procedural following the investigation to catch the extortionist. It's interesting and engaging but not quite as compelling. The film would have benefited from not skipping round its ensemble too much, especially after committing to Mr. Gondo at first so much. I would have also liked to have known more about the antagonist's motivation outside of a case of class jealousy, but I guess that was the point that the film was trying to illustrate. High and Low is still an essential entry in Kurosawa's canon, one that set the bar and foundation for cop thrillers to come.8/10

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Chris Silver
2014/04/12

SilverRating---10. High and Low (天国と地獄, )- Japan 1963This is movie number 10 on the list. High and low, Or heaven and hell as Kurosawa intended. This movie... I came in thinking "Ok, so a modern 60's movie, by the king of the Samurai actors and the director that invented and purified the samurai genre. This movie going to suck."Boy was I wrong. This film is easy to give spoilers on. But there is just so much that happens, and so rapidly, its beautiful to watch although the pacing is pretty fast. The film is 2 hours and 23 minutes, so although I say the pacing is fast, it really isn't. You can really see Mifune's height in the movie. In the samurai films he towers but with this, he is a normal 5'9 guy. Trying to make the right decision, whether to save his family from blackmail, or save a little boy's life. Half of the movie is him trying to make his decision, with input from his wife, the investigators and many other characters. The other half of the movie is a film-japan-noir, (idea) trying to find the antagonist in a hay stack. The ride is beautiful, not much more to say. WATCH THIS MOVIE. I am falling in love with Kurosawa, like a fat kid loves a cake factory.SilverRating: 8/10

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Luis Guillermo Cardona
2010/04/02

The difficult choice between the moral and money---There are times when you choose is not easy. Life, with its unpredictable exercise, gives us from time to time against the sword and the wall and we are in complex situations when making a decision. It is as if they entered our room, fully available, Charlize Theron and Scarlett Johansson, and you could see the dilemma of choosing one of the two to stay with you. Something like that, but with a profound moral crossroads, is what Mr Gondo passes, one of the National Shoe executives who, about to become the largest shareholder of the company, is pressured by the unusual fact that, by kidnapping his young son is kidnapped, wrongly, the his driver 's son... and now 30 million yen to return the boy. Motivated by the kidnapping victim was the son of a friend, Akira Kurosawa gained access to novel Makubein Edo (pseudonym of Evan Hunter) decided to tell, in more detail, the difficult crossroads and clash of strong feelings, which often occur after a insucess of this type. Weigh the morale and commitment to life, weighing the capital they got even with effort, in part, has been the result of a dowry; weigh the friendship and loyalty of an employee; weighs the position that you are about to acquire and pride that keep calling you; weigh the image you have, if you let a boy be murdered; weigh the situation impersonation "casual" that saved your child being the victim of kidnapping; weighs the noble sentiments of Reiko, the wife, who immediately choose life over any money in the world... A burden is placed upon the shoulders of a man who only want a better life with dignity serving customers of your company. But, teachers say: "The greater the challenge, the more significant will be the triumph". Many consciences are mobilized and then the police force takes charge of this case that moved to Japan and Kurosawa recreates the deep feeling and narrative vigor that already has plenty of demonstrations. The photograph, in this setting almost neorealist and packed full of shadows, makes clear the dark picture which develops this issue on a case of kidnapping for extortion.The music, again focused on the West, is already common feature in the dramas of Japanese director urbanites, quite attracted to this side of our planet, and insurance, hoping to connect your movies with that great power that has represented Hollywood... which will ultimately get. "TENGOKU TO JIGOKU" is a brilliant police exercise and is also a drama that, in any case, I think, leave us indifferent. Oh, and surely inspired Steven Spielberg, this unusual level of pink smoke, suddenly, comes amid the black and white.

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