8.4/10
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125 user 92 critic

High and Low (1963)

Tengoku to jigoku (original title)
Not Rated | | Crime, Drama, Mystery | 26 November 1963 (USA)
Trailer
3:39 | Trailer
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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Popularity
4,899 ( 876)
Top Rated Movies #82 | 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 ... Chief Detective 'Bos'n' Taguchi
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 ... 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

A wealthy businessman is told his son has been kidnapped and he will have to pay a very large sum for him to be returned safely. It is then discovered that his son is safe at home: the kidnapper took his chauffeur's son by accident. The kidnapper says this makes no difference: pay up or the child dies. This leaves him with a moral dilemma, as he really needs the money to conclude a very important business deal. Written by grantss

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

142 Screenful Minutes of Thrills and Suspense! See more »


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

During the kidnapper's first on-screen appearance, Franz Schuberts "Trout Quintet" is heard in the background. This use of music is possibly symbolic, since the theme of the 4th movement (which is heard) directly quotes Schubert's own song "Die Forelle", about is a clever trout which time and time again escapes a fisherman, until the fisherman catches him using a ruse. This might foreshadow the police closing in on the kidnapper. See more »

Goofs

The story occurs in midsummer. 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

[first lines]
Kingo Gondo: So what exactly is it you want?
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Connections

Referenced in The Big Lebowski (1998) See more »

Soundtracks

Forellenquintett (Trout Quintet), 4th movement
(uncredited)
Written by Franz Schubert
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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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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

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

4-Track Stereo (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

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

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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