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High and Low

Tengoku to Jigoku

Tengoku to Jigoku

directed by
Akira Kurosawa

Toho Co., Ltd.
Japan 1963

Description * The Story
(from the original press sheet)

cover cast and credits back

To me Kurosawa's best movie. No doubt I'm as much prejudiced as Ed McBain.
(I started reading the guy because he had written the original novel—well worth it).
Every outstanding motion picture has at least one scene that really sticks out. For me, High and Low has several:
— the Bullet Train, where Gondo throws his fortune out of a toilet window; about the most exciting scene I've ever seen
— the police in a car tracking Aoki and son in Gondo's Mercedes, with Hitchcock-like Bernard Hermann music
— the final confrontation of Gondo and the kidnapper; talk about heavy!
— the addict quarter scene
— and the "pink smoke" scene with its incredible chutzpah of splicing one single hand colored shot into a B/W movie.

hl07 hl03








executive producers

screenplay by

adapted from Ed McBain's
photographed by
music by
Tomoyuki Tanaka
Ryuzo Kikushima
Ryuzo Kikushima
Eijiro Hisaita
Akira Kurosawa
"King's Ransom"
Choici Nakai - Takao Saito
Masaru Sato
Toshiro Mifune
Kyogo Kagawa
Tatsuya Nakadai
Tatsuya Mihashi
Yutaka Sada
Kenjiro Ishiyama
Tsutoma Yamazaki
Takashi Shimura
Gondo's wife
Tokura ("Carella")
Secretary Kawanishi
Aoki (chauffeur)
Taguchi (inspector)
the kidnapper
police commissary

143 minutes, B/W and color, TohoScope

ad 1
Toho, as my friend Hiroshi Noune of their Paris office informed me, was very impressed with our way of handling their product. Ironically, because of that the critics wrote about it as a classy film rather than a hard-boiled thriller, and the film flopped badly. The movie was shown in the art house circuit where it really did not belong, and I lost over 10,000 Dutch guilders on it; would have been almost $15,000 in 2001.
We had to indicate a 20 minute cut, as the movie was too long to fit into two evening screenings. Hiroshi-San did not want to know this, because if Kurosawa heard about it he would go to the Head Office and make problems. I'm proud to say that, as it turned out, no exhibitor actually made the cut. (They all preferred to project at 26 frames per second).

Our Dutch press sheet was designed by Henk Kleijn; the advertisements by Ron Seubert.
ad 2

High And Low
Industrialist Toshiro Mifune hunts the kidnapper of his chauffeur's son in this drama from Akira Kurosawa. At once a fine detective story and brilliant allegory on the nature of class differences, as represented by the businessman, his servant and the kidnappers. Based on a story by Ed McBain.

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