High And Low (1963)


Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBBB

Original title:  Tengoku to Jigoku

Japan, 1963Kurosawa Production Co., Toho Company.  Screenplay by Akira Kurosawa, , , Eijiro Hisaita, based on the novel Kingu no Minoshirokin by Evan Hunter.  Cinematography by .  Produced by Ryuzo Kikushima, .  Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .

Not surprisingly, Akira Kurosawa was just as magnificent a filmmaker with modern-day stories as he was with the many period films he made. This film is an exemplary thriller about a wealthy industrialist () who is informed by kidnappers that they have taken his son for ransom. He instantly decrees that he will do whatever is necessary to get the boy back, until he realizes that his son is safe and sound with him in his home, but it is his servant’s little boy that the kidnappers took by accident. Now he is in a moral quandary: he’d like to do the right thing, but is it worth risking his financial situation for a child that isn’t his? The tension builds in one living room for the first hour, and then the second half finds the skilled policeman () trying to get the boy back before any money has to be paid. Forget any recent Hollywood thrillers like Ransom, this character driven film is the genuine article, a true spectacle of thrills and chills, with Japan’s two greatest movie stars appearing in one terrific adventure.

The Criterion Collection:  #24

Venice Film Festival:  In Competition


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