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High and Low (1963)

Tengoku to jigoku (original title)
Not Rated | | Crime, Drama, Mystery | 26 November 1963 (USA)
An executive of a shoe company becomes a victim of extortion when his chauffeur's son is kidnapped and held for ransom.

Director:

Akira Kurosawa

Writers:

Hideo Oguni (screenplay), Ryûzô Kikushima (screenplay) | 3 more credits »
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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 3 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Toshirô Mifune ... Kingo Gondo
Tatsuya Nakadai ... Chief Detective Tokura
Kyôko Kagawa ... Reiko Gondo
Tatsuya Mihashi ... Kawanishi - Gondo's Secretary
Isao Kimura Isao Kimura ... Detective Arai
Kenjirô Ishiyama Kenjirô Ishiyama ... Chief Detective 'Bos'n' Taguchi
Takeshi Katô Takeshi Katô ... Detective Nakao
Takashi Shimura ... Chief of Investigation Section
Jun Tazaki Jun Tazaki ... Kamiya, National Shoes Publicity Director
Nobuo Nakamura ... Ishimaru, National Shoes Design Department Director
Yûnosuke Itô Yûnosuke Itô ... Baba - National Shoes Executive
Tsutomu Yamazaki ... Ginjirô Takeuchi - Medical Intern
Minoru Chiaki ... First Reporter
Eijirô Tôno ... Factory Worker
Masao Shimizu Masao Shimizu ... Prison Warden
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Storyline

An executive mortgages all he owns to stage a coup and gain control of the National Shoe Company, with the intent of keeping the company out of the hands of incompetent and greedy executives. He needs the same money, though, to pay the ransom that will possibly save a child's life. His resolution of that dilemma -- the certain loss of the company vs. the probable loss of the child -- makes for one distinct drama, and an ensuing elaborate police procedure makes for a second. Written by levin <levin@world.std.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

From Akira Kurosawa, director of "Yojimbo" and "Sanjuro" comes a tense, taut film of a modern "perfect crime" with more excitement than even Hitchcock could create. See more »


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

Japan

Language:

Japanese

Release Date:

26 November 1963 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

High and Low See more »

Filming Locations:

Enoshima, Kanagawa, Japan See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$15,942, 28 July 2002

Gross USA:

$46,808

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$46,808
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

4-Track Stereo (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Black and White | Color (Eastmancolor) (inserts only)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Yutaka Sada, who played as the driver for Gondo, did not have driver's license when he was cast for the role. Although he obtained one before the shooting began, he had difficulty in the shooting. See more »

Goofs

The story goes in midsummer in Japan. This implies that Mt. Fuji has no snow. Since the location filming was carried out in winter season, the top of Mt. Fuji is very white. Some film critics mention that this is almost the only mistake they can find in the film. See more »

Quotes

Chief Detective Tokura: Mr. Gondo, I know it's late to be saying this... but you have the right to protect your own livelihood. It's our duty to help you. We want to save the child, but not by sacrificing you.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Obsession (1976) See more »

Soundtracks

Die Forelle
(uncredited)
Written by Franz Schubert
See more »

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User Reviews

 
About the best police procedural you're ever likely to see
7 October 1999 | by theorbysSee all my reviews

Toshiro Mifune is a businessman in a Japan that is on the brink of the Economic Miracle of the Sixties. He is an honest man who loves his job as a shoe factory exec and is in a battle for corporate control against a pack of hyenas. He has mortgaged and borrowed and scraped to raise the money for a surprise coup when his son is kidnapped. But there is a major plot twist: it is not HIS son that was taken but his son's playmate, the chauffeur's kid and the ransom demanded is astronomical. If he pays he will lose everything he has worked so hard for, but can he just sacrifice the chauffeur's child because it is not his? From here on High and Low (perhaps better translated as Heaven and Hell) is a police procedural based on an Ed McBain 87th precinct story.

Watching this film I had a rare, almost unique, experience. I saw it on a fairly screen tv, letterboxed, in a darkened room. All the preceding conditions helped contribute to put me into an objective/subjective middle ground where I had the feeling of looking through a special visor that allowed me to see the world by means of an almost perfect film as if through the eyes of a cinematic genius who is in total command of his artistic means and in total command of his subject matter. I think the key to this experience is that while High and Low is interesting as human drama, it is yet peculiarly uninvolving emotionally but very involving cinematically. These distances are important in Kurosawa's films (he is high on my list of top ten directors but after Welles). In IKIRU you probably could not be more deeply involved emotionally, while in RAN there is nothing but relentless distance.

I think a good companion film to watch with this would be Kurosawa's earlier, looser, but much more individually tense, police film STRAY DOG (this time Mifune is the cop)


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