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High and Low

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High and Low

An executive of a shoe company becomes a victim of extortion when his chauffeur's son is kidnapped and held for ransom.

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Release : 1963
Rating : 8.4
Studio : Toho Company, Ltd., 
Crew : Production Design,  Assistant Camera, 
Cast : Toshirō Mifune Tatsuya Nakadai Kyôko Kagawa Tatsuya Mihashi Isao Kimura
Genre : Drama Thriller Crime Mystery

Cast List

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Reviews

Cubussoli
2018/08/30

Very very predictable, including the post credit scene !!!

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Evengyny
2018/08/30

Thanks for the memories!

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Livestonth
2018/08/30

I am only giving this movie a 1 for the great cast, though I can't imagine what any of them were thinking. This movie was horrible

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Deanna
2018/08/30

There are moments in this movie where the great movie it could've been peek out... They're fleeting, here, but they're worth savoring, and they happen often enough to make it worth your while.

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capone666
2018/04/02

High and LowThe key to being a successful kidnapper is never targeting families with twins or triplets. However, the dimwitted abductor in this thriller can't even swipe the correct kid.Just as capitalist Kingo (Toshiro Mifune) is about to use his enormous wealth to acquire a company, he receives a phone call from a mysterious man informing him that his son has been kidnapped and that a ransom is demanded.While Kingo agrees to put his purchase on hold to save his son, that all changes when it is learned that the captors took Kingo's chauffeur's son by mistake. Worse, they still want Kingo to pay the ransom.A classic kidnapping caper elevated by an impossible moral quandary, director Akira Kurosawa's black-and-white 1963 adaptation of the American novel is beautifully shot, briskly pace and dynamically performed by Kurosawa's main muse Mifune. Nevertheless, abducted Japanese children are still expected to maintain a respectful GPA. Green Light vidiotreviews.blogspot.ca

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Yashua Kimbrough (jimniexperience)
2018/01/19

Two-part story, one narrative following Mr. Gondo's kidnapping narrative, and the other following the police investigation to track down the perpetrators. A honest businessman is the center of a scandal as his housekeeper's child is kidnapped and held for ransom. To make matters worse , he's infighting with his company directors who are trying to steal his shares and get him fired. He decides against paying the ransom and hires detectives to track down the kidnappers, but through guilt decides to give in to the captors demands. The Detectives, seeing the honest side of the mega-businessman, decide to do evverything in their power to bring the culprit to justice. They trace his calls, study daylight cycles of phone booths, investigate seashore with son, and track down all trolleys and serum merchants. The investigation leads the cops down a path of murder, heroin, extortion, and stake-outs in this intense original thriller .Highly intelligent movie

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sharky_55
2016/04/13

Gondo is about to complete a corporate takeover of a large company, having acquired all the funds by placing everything he owns on the line. That is all placed on standby as a kidnapper calls asking for a ransom for his kidnapped son. He immediately agrees - what is money compared to his own flesh and blood? But the kidnapper has kidnapped the wrong boy, not Gondo's, but the son of his lowly chauffeur, Aoki. Suddenly all eyes turn back to Gondo. A moral dilemma for the ages - is this boy worth the same ransom? In High and Low, Kurosawa tackles how capitalism has a tendency to transform citizens, to elevate some and shunt off others, to create a breeding ground where morality and integrity are often brushed aside for material gain.As the title dictates, Kurosawa takes us from High to Low. The first third of the film takes place in Gondo's luxury, high-rise apartment, where in one wide shot towers over the rest of the town like a heavenly paradise. Here where we witness Kurosawa's mastery of the frame, his breathtaking blocking and composition. He does not need to push in for a close-up - the master shot reveals every character's actions and reactions in relation to each other. When that fateful ring of the phone sounds, they all flock to its source. Later, as they consider the moral dilemma of Gondo, Kurosawa arranges each body around and behind him, staging their surrounding of the figure theatrically, their eyes staring, judging. When he angrily refuses to bow to the whims of the kidnapper, Mifune walks across the frame and out of the group, facing away and shielding himself from their judgement, taking an eternity to even meet the eyes of Aoki. Yutaka Sadaias is the lowly chauffeur, who talks less with dialogue but with his body language, the way his profile seems to be ever drooping in misery and fear, staring at his shoes like he is unworthy to participate in the discussion on his own son's life. In the silence he slowly approaches Gondo, who swiftly walks away from him (but their eyes do meet for a split second, unavoidable), and then the camera pans ever so slightly and literally pushes Aoki out of the frame as though he is irrelevant. Then we have the middle, where the police procedural element takes over. We have the thrill of the cash drop-off on a speeding train, those repeated flashes of the boy and his captor, straining but unable to be discerned. And we have the first inkling of change from Gondo - symbolically he sits himself onto the ground (which is where he began) and uses his old tricks of the trade to help the police prepare the cases. Without this little segment it would be too easy for the officers to despise him (remembering that they too are living in the shadow of Gondo's wealth) but they begin to admire and respect his dedication, and in a stroke of poetic justice, so too does the public. We have the long meeting of the police where each part of the ongoing investigation is recapped in very fine detail. This has been criticised as slow and expository, completely negating the building tension, but it actually holds a much more important task. Interspersed with these updates are flashbacks showing the various officers interacting with the common folk - Kurosawa uses this as a way of slowly exploring the roots of the community and what makes it tick on. And so Gondo too follows suit, slowly losing his corporate mask, descending into menial housework, and in one poignant scene, wandering the streets he used to belong to, and gazing through the window at a small display of shoes. His roots. And then in the low we have where the kidnapper Takeuchi operates, in the slums where beggars and drug addicts flock to, and the frenetic, sweaty nightclubs where it becomes so easy to lose a tailed suspect. The way Kurosawa has engineering the movement of that scene is nothing more than marvellous - Takeuchi slipping in and out of the deep focus layers of the crowd, only briefly visible by his dark spectacles and the one red carnation, and the POV of the police trying desperately to keep track of him. And then as he wades through the slums to purchase heroin, we have a frightening scene where he approaches one particular addict. It is filmed from behind a window opening so we are mere helpless spectators, and Kurosawa has somehow perfected the lighting setup so the reflective surfaces of his glasses catch the key light in a way that lights up his eyes in the darkness like he is a panther in the night, slowly stalking his way towards the addict. It is breathtakingly terrifying and the first real moment where we come to terms with him being able to kidnap and threaten an innocent child (perhaps a tiny flaw being the newspapers segments which slightly dull the power of his eventual appearance). What we have here is a moral masterpiece woven into a crime story. In the beginning Gondo is haughty and proud - his company means the world to him, and he would not even think of humouring the kidnapper to throw it all away. But as he is pressured into paying the ransom he begins his slow descent down from heaven to hell (hence the original title) and realises that all he wants to do is make shoes his way. Though they are worlds apart Takeuchi has also begun the film in the same way, but has not changed by the end - wallowing in his pride, wanting no pity, still bitter about the state of affairs that forces him to glance at Gondo's high-rise heaven each day. But he is the one to commit the moral transgression, and he is the one to be punished for it.

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mevmijaumau
2014/09/11

High and Low is an interesting film noir-type thriller, based on the novel King's Ransom by Ed McBain. Like Ikiru, it's split in two parts, and again the first one is better. The first part is more minimalistic but more thrilling. It has fewer characters, only one set, simple dialogues and some really intense moments. The second part has more characters, locations, long-winded explanations and dragged-out scenes, which made me lose interest a few times. I do, however, like the ending, as well as the pink smoke scene (I mean, who doesn't love that one?). Like many other Kurosawa's films concerning social issues he filmed beforehand, High and Low also criticizes the post-war intrusion of American culture on Japan, often through subtle moments such as the two boys at the start playing cowboys, or sometimes a bit more bluntly, like in the night club scene, where American music is played and there are many Americans among the crowd.However, the most important aspect of the film, brought up even in its title, concerns social classes. The two halves of the movie are completely different as I mentioned, in every way imaginable. The first half is set in Gondo's luxurious home which oversees the rest of the town. Gondo's home is very empty and quiet. The camera is static and timid. The second half moves locations frequently, is very loud and messy, and the camera is dynamic. All of those effects are here to further describe the difference between the two worlds. The film ends with a confrontation between Gondo and the kidnapper (High and Low), when Gondo realizes that the kidnapper is very similar to him and with that moment of realization Kurosawa sends the message that the people of both classes should be considered equal.7,5/10

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