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Kurosawa Online Film Club #5: High and Low

High and LowSeptember stands for High and Low, at least when it comes to the Akira Kurosawa Online Film Club.

You should by now be familiar with the system, but in case you are not, take a look at the film club page for more information.

The film is based on Ed McBain’s novel King’s Ransom, which appears to be out of print. 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” like crime thriller, it has since become a favourite among many critics. Many of them find the film’s narrative structure and its metaphorical system especially intriguing.

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 observed that the 1996 movie Ransom (starring Mel Gibson) included a number of scenes that had been inspired by Kurosawa’s movie.

At the time of the production of Ransom, Hollywood was actually also working on a direct remake of High and Low, with Martin Scorsese set to direct the film. The production was, however, put on hold, and has not been revised since. The last that I heard of it was that Scorsese will only be producing, if the project ever sees the light of day.


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