7.9/10
12,754
70 user 65 critic

Stray Dog (1949)

Nora inu (original title)
During a sweltering summer, a rookie homicide detective tries to track down his stolen Colt pistol.

Director:

Akira Kurosawa
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Toshirô Mifune ... Detective Murakami
Takashi Shimura ... Chief Detective Sato
Keiko Awaji Keiko Awaji ... Harumi Namaki, the girl-friend
Eiko Miyoshi Eiko Miyoshi ... Madame Namiki, Harumi's mother
Noriko Sengoku Noriko Sengoku ... Ogin, the pickpocket
Noriko Honma Noriko Honma ... Woman of wooden tub shop
Reikichi Kawamura Reikichi Kawamura ... Officer Ichikawa
Eijirô Tôno ... Old man of wooden tub shop
Yasushi Nagata Yasushi Nagata ... Investigation Chief Abe
Isao Kimura Isao Kimura ... Shinjiro Yusa
Teruko Kishi Teruko Kishi ... Ogin, a pickpocket
Minoru Chiaki ... Girlie Show director
Ichirô Sugai ... Yayoi Hotel owner
Gen Shimizu Gen Shimizu ... Police Inspector Nakajima
Kan Yanagiya Kan Yanagiya ... Police Officer
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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

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:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Japan

Language:

Japanese

Release Date:

31 August 1963 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Stray Dog See more »

Filming Locations:

Tokyo, Japan See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Isao Kimura's first Kurosawa film. See more »

Goofs

At one point, there is a man playing a tune on a harmonica that needs two people with harmonicas to play. See more »

Quotes

Det. Murakami: Get me her record.
Det. Ichikawa: No need. I know her down to the moles on her back.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Uncertainty (2008) See more »

Soundtracks

Sonatine in C Major, Op.20-1
Composed by Friedrich Kuhlau
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User Reviews

 
Akira Kurosawa on the verge of greatness.
25 January 2005 | by counterrevolutionarySee 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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