HIGH AND LOW (1963) B/W widescreen 142 m dir: Akira Kurosawa

w/Toshiro Mifune, Kyoto Kagawa, Tatsuya Nakadai, Tatsuya Mihashi, Yutaka Sada, Kenjiro Ishiyama, Tsutomu Yamakazi, Takashi Shimura, Susumu Fujita, Ko Kimura

From The Movie Guide: "Based on a crime novel by Ed McBain, this brilliant Kurosawa film stars Toshiro Mifune as Kingo Gondo, a rich industrialist who receives word that his son has been kidnapped by a madman demanding an outrageous ransom that will ruin Gondo financially if he pays it. Before Gondo can make a decision, his son enters the house, and we learn that it is his playmate, the chauffeur's son, who has been kidnapped. Gondo is then faced with a tough moral decision: is his chauffeur's son worth as much as his own? ...

"In HIGH AND LOW Kurosawa succeeds in developing a highly visual structural style within the widescreen format. The first half of the film takes place in the living room of Gondo's hilltop house and is characterized by static shots that hold for several minutes on a single composition. Time transitions are handled by wipes, creating a charged atmosphere. This steadiness is broken suddenly for the second half of the film, involving the criminal manhunt, shot with a normal amount of motion and cutting --- its pace frenetic in comparison with the first half of the film."