24 High and Low

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Martha
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24 High and Low

#1 Post by Martha » Sat Feb 12, 2005 8:51 pm

High and Low

Image Image

Toshiro Mifune is unforgettable as Kingo Gondo, a wealthy industrialist whose family becomes the target of a cold-blooded kidnapper in Akira Kurosawa’s highly influential High and Low (Tengoku to jigoku). Adapting Ed McBain’s detective novel King’s Ransom, Kurosawa moves effortlessly from compelling race-against-time thriller to exacting social commentary, creating a penetrating portrait of contemporary Japanese society. Criterion is proud to present High and Low in an all-new high-definition digital transfer.

Disc Features

- High-definition digital restoration, with original four-track surround sound (presented in DTS-HD Master Audio on the Blu-ray edition)
- Audio commentary featuring Akira Kurosawa scholar Stephen Prince
- Documentary on the making of High and Low, created as part of the Toho Masterworks series Akira Kurosawa: It Is Wonderful to Create
- Rare video interview with actor Toshiro Mifune, conducted by TV talk-show host Tetsuko Kuroyanagi
- New video interview with actor Tsutomu Yamazaki, who plays the kidnapper
- Theatrical trailers from Japan and the U.S.
- PLUS: A booklet featuring a new essay by critic Geoffrey O’Brien and a reprinted on-set account by Japanese film scholar Donald Richie

Original DVD:
Criterionforum.org user rating averages



New DVD:
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The Invunche
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#3 Post by daniel p » Wed Mar 29, 2006 6:25 pm

With re-releases of "Seven Samurai", "Yojimbo" and "Sanjuro" coming up (when when WHEN??), how are the chances of a new version of "High and Low"?

The current disc leaves a lot to be desired: non-anamorphic, slightly cropped picture, zero extras...
I, for one, would much rather see High & Low re-released before Yojimbo and Sanjuro... it's my favourite Kurosawa.

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#4 Post by Gigi M. » Wed Mar 29, 2006 8:00 pm

It's great to see some admiration for this film. I believe is a masterpiece; probably Kurosawa's most powerful ending.

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#5 Post by zedz » Thu Mar 30, 2006 12:04 am

Me too! This is my favourite 60s Kurosawa, and probably 2nd or 3rd overall. I've steadfastly abstained from picking it up on DVD on the assumption that it will eventually get a well-deserved upgrade.

One thing I love about the film is the way it keeps moving through different moods and approaches (the slow, formal opening, with those powerful widescreen close-ups; the train / action sequences; the new wavy manhunt. . .) . It's almost more like a series of great movies than just one.

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#6 Post by skuhn8 » Thu Mar 30, 2006 1:59 am

Definitely would have to agree. Ranks there as one of my top fav Kurosawas (probably second only to Red Beard) for the reasons you mentioned. There is so much going on...yet there's no manic filmmaking involved. Beautifully paced. AK makes it look so easy.

But then I've always preferred those films taking place after WWII to the samurai ones.

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#7 Post by che-etienne » Fri Mar 31, 2006 9:07 am

Alongside Ran, Red Beard, and Seven Samurai. This is one of my fav Kurosawa films. In fact, I think it's one of the best thrillers ever made.

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#8 Post by manicsounds » Sat Apr 08, 2006 9:02 am

Now it's finally in the imdb top 250, which is great for recognition. now if we can get a remastered disc.

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#9 Post by barnyard078 » Tue Oct 24, 2006 6:41 pm

With High and Low playing at Lincoln Center's "Fifty Years of Janus Films" in a "brand-new or pristine 35mm print," do you think the odds of a Seven Samurai/Yojimbo/Sanjuro-style remastered rerelease have increased?

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#10 Post by Anthony » Tue Oct 24, 2006 7:37 pm

barnyard078 wrote:With High and Low playing at Lincoln Center's "Fifty Years of Janus Films" in a "brand-new or pristine 35mm print," do you think the odds of a Seven Samurai/Yojimbo/Sanjuro-style remastered rerelease have increased?
Let's hope so.

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#11 Post by soma » Tue Oct 31, 2006 8:06 pm

This definitely needs a re-release. The R4 Director's Suite edition is anamorphic enhanced. I own the Criterion but seriously want to upgrade.

And agreed, this is one of Kurosawa's best. Right up there with Ran, Ikiru, Seven Samurai and Sanjuro.

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#12 Post by jon » Tue Oct 31, 2006 8:55 pm

soma wrote:And agreed, this is one of Kurosawa's best. Right up there with Ran, Ikiru, Seven Samurai and Sanjuro.
Def needs the re-release, but Sanjuro and no Rashomon, Throne of Blood, or Red Beard?

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#13 Post by davebert » Tue Oct 31, 2006 9:06 pm

I think Sanjuro's a perfectly valid choice, given Red Beard's tendancy to drag, and the canonic status of Rashomon makes it almost as safe a choice as Seven Samurai. But I do loveThrone of Blood; the theatrical style is not for everyone, though, and it also takes its time in the pacing.

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#14 Post by jon » Tue Oct 31, 2006 9:17 pm

Sanjuro just looked a little out of place. The list didn't look like a list of opinion or enjoyment, but rather, it looked like a list of "the usual suspects".

Anyways, I would rather have a re-release of High and Low than one of Grey Gardens...

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#15 Post by Mr Sausage » Tue Oct 31, 2006 9:53 pm

jon wrote:
soma wrote:And agreed, this is one of Kurosawa's best. Right up there with Ran, Ikiru, Seven Samurai and Sanjuro.
Def needs the re-release, but Sanjuro and no Rashomon, Throne of Blood, or Red Beard?
I'm sure you'll agree that Yojimbo, as much as Rashomon and Red Beard (both of which I think are fine in their current editions), deserves a great edition, which in this case means a rerelease. If that is true, then it makes little sense to upgrade Yojimbo yet leave its wonderfully entertaining, only slightly lesser sequel, Sanjuro, in its subpar edition.

And Red Beard dragging? Blasphemy, sir. Blasphemy.

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#16 Post by davebert » Tue Oct 31, 2006 10:00 pm

Ah yes, but Grey Gardens will sell exceedingly well. Kurosawa is certainly a known staple for Criterion and can probably be counted on to sell a certain number on name alone, but this is again, not a Ran/Ikiru/Seven Samurai/Yojimbo title in popularity I wager, although it certainly matches them for skill.

A brief videostore analogy of re-release capitalism:

Grey Gardens: Sold 33, Rented 91
High and Low: Sold 9, Rented 8

Just sayin'.

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#17 Post by soma » Tue Oct 31, 2006 10:19 pm

jon wrote:Def needs the re-release, but Sanjuro and no Rashomon, Throne of Blood, or Red Beard?
I own both Rashomon and Throne Of Blood, and love them both, so no qualms there. But it was a list of what I believe to be Kurosawa's best (admittedly from what I've seen thus far) - Ran, Ikiru, High & Low and Seven Samurai are flawless masterpieces as far as I'm concerned. Sanjuro (which I like slightly better than Yojimbo), Throne Of Blood and Rashomon I rate all about the same, but I believe Sanjuro to be his most flat-out entertaining film, therefore one I can watch endlessly and therefore one of his best / my favourites.

I own all 8 Criterion DVDs of the above. Red Beard I actually haven't seen yet, but will be watching this evening.

The Hidden Fortress, Stray Dog, Kagemusha and Dreams are all Kurosawa films I enjoyed and appreciated, but not up there with his best in my opinion. Sanshiro Sugata was interesting to see, being his first film, but was fairly simplistic. The only Kurosawa film I've seen and not enjoyed though, is The Idiot.

I have not yet seen Drunken Angel, The Bad Sleep Well, I Live in Fear: Record of a Living Being, Madadayo or Dersu Uzala, but plan to do so.
Last edited by soma on Tue Oct 31, 2006 10:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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#18 Post by davebert » Tue Oct 31, 2006 10:24 pm

Out of that list, The Bad Sleep Well (which has one of the best introduction sequences in all of cinema) is one to catch, and Drunken Angel is an entertaining curiosity. Dersu Uzala is troublesome and although certain segments are beautiful, it's pretty much a mess on the whole. I've been intrigued by I Live in Fear, but have yet to catch it...

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#19 Post by Mr Sausage » Wed Nov 01, 2006 3:11 pm

davebert wrote:I've been intrigued by I Live in Fear, but have yet to catch it...
It has I think Toshiro Mifune's best performance. The movie is as complex in its study of character and social situation as any Kurosawa; but I have some reservations about it. I think Kurosawa leans too heavily into melodrama and sentimentality and lets the movie get away from him a bit (its heavy-handedness doesn't help). However, when it's at its peak, and it frequently is, it's as powerful a film as anything he's done. If I were to refer to any Kurosawa as an "interesting curiosity," I would certainly choose this one over Drunken Angel, which I think is a marvelous movie with one of Shimura's most surprising performances. As a practise-piece for Stray Dog (his best of the pre-Rashomon period), it is damn fine movie-making.
soma wrote: I have not yet seen Drunken Angel, The Bad Sleep Well, I Live in Fear: Record of a Living Being, Madadayo or Dersu Uzala, but plan to do so.
Drunken Angel is actually the one I would recommend most. I mention its qualities above, but I should point out that it was one of the most truly surprising Kurosawa experiences I've had. See it for Shimura's performance alone, which is probably best appreciated while keeping Ikiru in mind. Mifune is a tight ball of energy; the climactic knife fight is Kurosawa in peak form.

I'll second davebert's recommendation for The Bad Sleep Well, and only add that it falls just centimetres short of being truly great.

I Live in Fear (Record of a Living Being) I've already talked about; Madadayo is an often very sentimental movie. I recall Henrik (Dvdane) aptly referring to it as "a Japanese Mr. Chips." If you can stand the sentimentality, and an overlong section mourning a lost cat, it is a very fine movie, and especially poignant being Kurosawa's last picture.
soma wrote:The Hidden Fortress, Stray Dog, Kagemusha and Dreams are all Kurosawa films I enjoyed and appreciated, but not up there with his best in my opinion. Sanshiro Sugata was interesting to see, being his first film, but was fairly simplistic. The only Kurosawa film I've seen and not enjoyed though, is The Idiot.
I'm a bit surprised you don't rate Stray Dog with his best work. Dreams, for all its flaws, is to my mind his last masterpiece, but my view may be a bit eccentric. The key to truly appreciating it is to understand that it was a necessary movie. The Hidden Fortress is as entertaining a comedy as Sanjuro; Sanshiro Sugata is an astonishing debut. The Lower Depths hasn't been mentioned yet, but I'll pipe up and say it's one of his most formally interesting films. Kurosawa uses his formal innovation to illustrate the problems of filming plays while at the same demonstrating its solution. That he makes his mature style of multiple camera, deep-focus work fit the precise requirements of turning the stage into cinema without any twisting or contorting is highly pleasing.

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#20 Post by jon » Wed Nov 01, 2006 7:34 pm

Mr_sausage wrote:I'm sure you'll agree that Yojimbo, as much as Rashomon and Red Beard (both of which I think are fine in their current editions), deserves a great edition, which in this case means a rerelease. If that is true, then it makes little sense to upgrade Yojimbo yet leave its wonderfully entertaining, only slightly lesser sequel, Sanjuro, in its subpar edition.

And Red Beard dragging? Blasphemy, sir. Blasphemy.
You are confused. I was referring to High and Low needing the re-release. I was questioning the inclusion of Sanjuro as one of Kurosawa's top 5 films. I love the Yojimbo and Sanjuro, however, but never said anything about them not needing a re-release. And Dave said that about Red Beard, not me. Hopefully that clears everything up.

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#21 Post by Mr Sausage » Wed Nov 01, 2006 11:55 pm

jon wrote:
Mr_sausage wrote:I'm sure you'll agree that Yojimbo, as much as Rashomon and Red Beard (both of which I think are fine in their current editions), deserves a great edition, which in this case means a rerelease. If that is true, then it makes little sense to upgrade Yojimbo yet leave its wonderfully entertaining, only slightly lesser sequel, Sanjuro, in its subpar edition.

And Red Beard dragging? Blasphemy, sir. Blasphemy.
You are confused. I was referring to High and Low needing the re-release. I was questioning the inclusion of Sanjuro as one of Kurosawa's top 5 films. I love the Yojimbo and Sanjuro, however, but never said anything about them not needing a re-release. And Dave said that about Red Beard, not me. Hopefully that clears everything up.
Hmm, the thread wasn't all that clear so I just assumed we were talking about the pair. My mistake.

Yes, I do know it was Dave who said that, not you. I was just too lazy to add a quote and trusted everyone could figure out who I was talking to.

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#22 Post by davebert » Fri Nov 03, 2006 6:06 pm

Well I stand by my original declaration wholeheartedly. Red Beard is many things, but "taut" would not be one of them.

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#23 Post by jon » Sun Nov 05, 2006 10:20 am

davebert wrote:Well I stand by my original declaration wholeheartedly. Red Beard is many things, but "taut" would not be one of them.

Who said it was taut?

But hey, this argument stemmed from multiple misunderstandings. :)

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#24 Post by davebert » Sun Nov 05, 2006 11:45 am

Justin and I are debating (outside the Red Beard thread, mind you) whether Red Beard drags. So I'm just throwing words out that might describe the excess.

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#25 Post by Mr Sausage » Sun Nov 05, 2006 12:25 pm

davebert wrote:Justin and I are debating (outside the Red Beard thread, mind you) whether Red Beard drags. So I'm just throwing words out that might describe the excess.
Although what's been said is hardly substantial enough to be called a "debate." Not that this subject deserves a debate.

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