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Toshiro Mifune stars as a wealthy industrialist whose family becomes the target of a ruthless kidnapper in Akira Kurosawa's exemplary film noir. Based on Ed McBain's detective novel King's Ransom, High and Low is both a riveting thriller and a brilliant commentary on contemporary Japanese society. Criterion is proud to present High and Low in a luminous new Tohoscope transfer with new electronic subtitles.
Although best known for his samurai classics, Japanese master filmmaker Akira Kurosawa proved himself equally adept at contemporary dramas and thrillers, and 1962's High and Low offers a powerful showcase for Kurosawa's versatile skill. The great Toshiro Mifune stars as a wealthy industrialist who has just raised a large sum of money to execute his planned takeover of a successful shoe manufacturer. Fate intervenes when he receives a phone call informing him that his son has been kidnapped, and by unfortunate coincidence the ransom demand is nearly equivalent to the amount Mifune has raised for his corporate coup. A philosophical dilemma emerges when it is revealed that the executive's son is safe, and that it is actually his chauffeur's son who has been taken. What follows is both a tense detective thriller, as the police attempt to track down the kidnapper, and a compelling illustration of class division in Japan--the "high and low" of the title. Far be it from Kurosawa to make a mere thriller, however; this loose adaptation of the Ed McBain novel King's Ransom provides the director with ample opportunity to develop a visual strategy that perfectly enhances the story's sociological themes. The Criterion Collection DVD of this extraordinary film is presented in the original "Tohoscope" aspect ratio of 2.35:1. --Jeff Shannon
I know you would pay everything to save your own child. But what about someone else's?
A highly entertaining film. Read more
Concerned with the fate of the company he spent his life helping to build, a wealthy industrialist decides to gamble it all and stage a daring takeover attempt. Read morePublished on Nov. 2 2012 by Jamie MacDougall
Those from high and low positions in modern industrial Japanese society clash in this drama. While I don't easily commit to watch a long subtitled movie, this one kept my eyes... Read morePublished on June 5 2004 by paul_howard
This review is for the Criterion Collection DVD version of the film.
This film is well written and based on the Novel "King's Ransom" by Ed McBain. Read more
Based on King's Ransom by Ed McBain, High And Low (original title Heaven And Hell) tells the story of Gondo (Toshiro Mifune), head of National Shoes' factory production, who... Read morePublished on Feb. 1 2004 by Daniel J. Hamlow
* Akira Kurosawa's 1963 thriller movie HIGH & LOW begins with
Mr. Gondo (Toshiro Mifune), more or less the vice-president
of manufacturing of Japan's biggest shoe... Read more
"High and Low," Kurosawa's 1963 crime film begins in the peaceful mansion of Gondo (Mifune), who is involved in shoe production. Read morePublished on July 21 2003 by "reel07"
Kurosawa's visual style is, as always, brilliant here, but it's his writing--good, at best even in his greatest efforts--that fails him. Read morePublished on May 26 2003 by Django
This amazing achievement of cinema simply takes hold of your sub-conscious and does not let go until the Japanese characters of "the end" fade onto screen. Read morePublished on Oct. 30 2002 by Paul Broadstone Jr.