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The Castle of Sand (1974)

Suna no utsuwa (original title)
Detectives investigate the murder of an old man found in a Tokyo rail yard.


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Detective Imanishi
Gô Katô ...
Eiryo Waga
Kensaku Morita ...
Detective Yoshimura
Karin Yamaguchi ...
Yoshi Katô ...
Waga's Father
Kazuhide Haruta ...
Motoura Hideo
Junko Natsu ...
Akiko, hostess at Cabaret Bonuru
Seiji Matsuyama ...
Miki's Son
Taketoshi Naitô ...
Search section chief
Masumi Harukawa ...
Naka Sumie, woman at fan shop
Yoshio Inaba ...
Search chief clerk
Tokue Hanazawa ...
Miki's colleague in flashback
Taiji Tonoyama ...
Publican at Ebisu


Detectives investigate the murder of an old man found in a Tokyo rail yard.

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Release Date:

10 October 1975 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Castle of Sand  »

Filming Locations:


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Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Version of Suna no utsuwa (2004) See more »

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User Reviews

This film expands on genre conventions and is cinematic in the best sense
11 July 2005 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

This film CASTLE OF SAND expands on genre conventions and is cinematic in the best sense. YOSHITARO NOMURA takes what was presumably a best selling novel in Japan, and creates a fascinating mystery with all the requisites: the pairing of a veteran and a rookie detective; a murder with a minimum of clues; an unidentified victim; a journey of discovery for both detectives when the investigation seems to have come to a dead end; the seemingly arbitrary introduction of a key figure on which much hinges, and so forth.

The director tells a story with voice overs and the requisite dialogue but as often as not his camera tells the story.

I have seen any number of Japanese films in my 50 plus years, but I still felt I was undergoing the journey and the search that the two detectives take, through the rural regions of Japan that are in stark contrast to their operating base, Tokyo.

The story has elements that take it beyond the realms of the mystery and police procedure genres, and the conclusion is worthy of the time the director has spent in weaving his tragic tale.

The film is now available on DVD via Panorama; it is in the original Japanese with Chinese and English subtitles. It is a SINGLE LAYER DISK, LETTERBOXED and in STEREO, which is paramount because music is central to the whole affair.

Unfortunately my copy had a sequence when the senior detective is addressing his colleagues and no subtitling is provided (you simply see the same line for an awkward length of time). However the viewer should be able to extrapolate what has been said. All in all, a film and DVD worth seeking out!

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