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Stray Dog (1949)

Nora inu (original title)
Not Rated | | Crime, Drama, Mystery | 31 August 1963 (USA)
During a sweltering summer, a rookie homicide detective tries to track down his stolen Colt pistol.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Keiko Awaji ...
Eiko Miyoshi ...
Noriko Sengoku ...
Girl
Noriko Honma ...
Wooden Tub Shop woman
Reikichi Kawamura
Yasushi Nagata ...
(as Kiyoshi Nagata)
Kappei Matsumoto
Isao Kimura ...
Yusa
...
Girlie Show director
Teruko Kishi ...
Ogin
...
Yayoi Hotel owner
Gen Shimizu ...
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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>

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Taglines:

Another great detective classic in the tradition of "High and Low" by the same director! See more »


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

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Release Date:

31 August 1963 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Stray Dog  »

Filming Locations:

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Technical Specs

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Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The debut film of Minoru Chiaki and his first (of ten) directed by Akira Kurosawa. See more »

Quotes

Det. Sato: He'll rob again. Once does not a habit make, but the second time, a stray becomes a rabid dog. Am I wrong?
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Connections

Version of Tsumetai chi (1997) See more »

Soundtracks

The Waves of the Danube
Composed by Iosif Ivanovici
This is played by a harmonica player outside the bar where Murakami follows Ogin.
(The melody is also known as "The Anniversary Song", the title Al Jolson and Saul Chaplin gave to their adaptation of it.)
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User Reviews

 
Akira Kurosawa on the verge of greatness.
25 January 2005 | by (Spokane, WA) – See all my reviews

The following year, 1950, would see Kurosawa achieve his first major international success with the masterpiece Rashomon. Here, Kurosawa doesn't quite have the sureness of touch which would characterize most of his career, but Stray Dog is nevertheless a fine film noir and an effective exploration of Kurosawa's ideas about postwar Japan in particular and the human condition in general.

As you might expect from such a genius, Kurosawa is not satisfied with a simple good-guys/bad-guys cops-and-robbers story. He explores in depth the social and economic conditions in postwar Japan which led many young people--particularly returning veterans--to take to crime, and also the particular circumstances which motivate the acts of Yusa (Isao Kimura), the criminal. Indeed, a series of mistakes by the hero, rookie detective Murakami (Toshiro Mifune), are one factor behind Yusa's crimes.

But neither is Stray Dog a facile blame-society message film, either. Kurosawa makes no excuses for Yusa. By giving Murakami a very similar history (so similar, in fact, that it comes off as a little contrived), Kurosawa makes the point that Yusa had the same choice as Murakami. That he chose differently is his responsibility.

But even more interesting to me is the character of chief detective Sato (Takashi Shimura), Murakami's superior officer, mentor, and friend.

Sato is the wise elder figure in this film, and in the hands of a lesser artist than Kurosawa, such a character generally ends up as a mouthpiece for the director's own viewpoint. Here, though, Kurosawa permits Sato to espouse a hardcore law-and-order philosophy: The cops are the good guys, the crooks are the bad guys, and that's it. Sato has no patience for Murakami's guilt feelings or touchy-feely philosophizing.

That Kurosawa would permit this view (which is not Kurosawa's view, nor the film's) to be given voice by the film's wisest, kindest, most competent, and most likable character is a mark of his confidence and courage.


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