When his driver’s little boy is kidnapped, wealthy businessman Kingo Gondo (Toshiro Mifune) has to decide if he’s willing to put his entire career and fortune at stake to save him; the kidnapper actually intended to take his son. A thriller set in a cityscape, first told from the perspective of the businessman, then from that of the police detectives hunting the kidnapper and his allies. Very straightforward and unsentimental, with an interesting moral dilemma and a high degree of tension in spite of its running length and deliberate pacing. Far from a complex story, but dark. Very nice use of widescreen photography.
1963-Japan. 142 min. B/W. Widescreen. Produced by Ryuzo Kikushima, Tomoyuki Tanaka. Directed by Akira Kurosawa. Screenplay: Akira Kurosawa, Hideo Oguni, Eijiro Hisaita, Ryuzo Kikushima. Novel: Ed McBain (“King’s Ransom”). Cinematography: Asakazu Nakai, Takao Saito. Cast: Toshiro Mifune (Kingo Gondo), Tatsuya Mihashi (Kawanishi), Yutaka Sada (Aoki), Tatsuya Nakadai, Kyoko Kagawa.
Trivia: Original title: Tengoku to jigoku. The story was previously filmed for American TV as an episode of 87th Precinct (1961-1962).