Our film club’s movie for November is High and Low (天国と地獄), Akira Kurosawa’s crime thriller from 1963.
The film is loosely based on Ed McBain’s 1959 novel King’s Ransom and features Toshiro Mifune as a wealthy executive whose son is kidnapped for ransom. At the time of its release, the film was a huge commercial and critical success in Japan, and although many reviewers in the west expressed initial puzzlement over Kurosawa’s choice of tackling a “lesser genre” such as crime film, it has since become a favourite among many critics.
High and Low was remade in 1977 as Inkaar by the Indian director Raj N. Sippy, who changed the setting from Yokohama to Bombay. Many have also suggested that the 1996 movie Ransom starring Mel Gibson was inspired by Kurosawa’s movie. Martin Scorsese has also been considering a remake for about 20 years now. I think that the latest we have heard of it was in 2010 when Chris Rock was supposedly attached to write the screenplay.
Our previous discussions of the film can be found from under the High and Low topic.
In December, we shall be watching Martin Scortsese’s Taxi Driver. For the full film club schedule, see the film club page.