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Stray Dog (1949)
"Nora inu" (original title)

 -  Crime | Drama | Thriller  -  31 August 1963 (USA)
7.8
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 8,840 users  
Reviews: 59 user | 53 critic

During a sweltering summer, a rookie homicide detective tries to track down his stolen Colt pistol.

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Title: Stray Dog (1949)

Stray Dog (1949) on IMDb 7.8/10

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Keiko Awaji ...
Harumi Namaki, showgirl
Eiko Miyoshi ...
Harumi's mother
Noriko Sengoku ...
Girl
Noriko Honma ...
Wooden Tub Shop woman
Reikichi Kawamura
Eijirô Tôno
Yasushi Nagata ...
(as Kiyoshi Nagata)
Kappei Matsumoto ...
(as Katsuhei Matsumoto)
Isao Kimura ...
Yusa
Minoru Chiaki ...
Girlie Show director
Teruko Kishi
Ichirô Sugai ...
Yayoi Hotel owner
Gen Shimizu ...
Police Inspector Nakajima
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Storyline

Murukami, a young homicide detective, has his pocket picked on a bus and loses his pistol. Frantic and ashamed, he dashes about trying to recover the weapon without success until taken under the wing of an older and wiser detective, Sato. Together they track the culprit. Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

31 August 1963 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Stray Dog  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Much of the film was filmed from the slum streets of post war Japan. These were filmed under chief assistant director Ishirô Honda, who had gone with camera operator Kazuo Yamada into some dangerous, even yakuza run, territory. Many of the scenes of Toshirô Mifune's character from the waist down are actually Honda standing in. See more »

Quotes

Det. Sato: A stray dog becomes a mad dog.
See more »

Connections

Version of Tsumetai chi (1997) See more »

Soundtracks

La Paloma
(uncredited)
Written by Sebastián Yradier
Heard in the hotel and over the phone after Sato gets shot
See more »

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User Reviews

 
one of Kurosawa's very best screenplays; a deft mystery/docu-drama
9 February 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Akira Kurosawa, along with his co-writer Ryuzo Kikushima, has here something very intriguing- a screenplay that really draws the viewer in, like opening up a tight, to-the-bone detective story by the likes of Dashiell Hammett (an influence on at least one Kurosawa film, by the way). His basic premise is deceptively simple- a nervous but completely professional and slightly worn-down cop, played by a young & trim Toshiro Mifune, gets his gun pick-pocketed on the subway, and he spends at least half of the film on his own looking for it. When a pickpocket specialist, played by one of the very best Japanese character actors Takashi Shimura, comes into being his partner on the case, then things, then the plot starts to thicken further. But as someone who's read (and tried to write) a few screenplays, I just know watching this how much detail probably went into it, the nuances of things that Mifune had to do. It's quite a delicate, awesome feat, considering the layers of the film's content.

Obviously, Kurosawa as the director calls the shots in terms of the visuals, his true forte, though this is him still in a young director mode, very confident in his style, though only giving minor fluoride's of style (sometimes quite well). This works to his advantage when using the motif of hot, heat, the wretched weight of a summer's day in the more crowded, poorer areas of Tokyo. But Stray Dog is more than just a kind of common detective film. That the story is sturdy and good enough to be akin very much to the American films of the time is almost besides the point. Like De Sica, to a degree, Kurosawa uses the post-war streets and real locations (it's not all just Toho this time), and it adds that layer of heightened realism for our main characters on the prowl; in fact one could look at this film as being like the Bicycle Thief (looking for a lost item in the dark places of the city) had it been written with a fair amount less sentiment and more grit.

When the suspense comes forth, it's really a knockout, especially when it comes time for he final confrontation with the thief, where it becomes such a struggle that the two are like, well, dogs, very primal as it boils down to the law versus the criminal. There's a certain sense of time and structure that sets apart Stray Dog from the numerous 'film-noirs' of American cinema of the period- while it contains the kind of determined edge and wit of those films, it also relies on portraying the people in this world as honestly as possible, however downtrodden things are (like Kurosawa's later film High & Low, location adds to the mood greatly). But even through Mifune's cautious and un-bending kind of performance, and Shimura's typical intelligent, laid-back way, it's the script that pulls everything together; that long, fascinating sequence of Mifine trudging through the streets looking for his gun was not very likely improvised. Very well done.


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