Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Movies You Haven't Seen But Should: High and Low


High and Low (Tengoku to jigoku literally "Heaven and Hell"?) is a 1963 film directed by Akira Kurosawa, starring Toshirō Mifune, Tatsuya Nakadai, and Kyōko Kagawa in the lead roles. It was loosely based on King's Ransom, an 87th Precinct police procedural by Evan Hunter (written under the pseudonym Ed McBain).

High and Low is told in two acts. The first act is about an executive named Kingo Gondo (Toshirō Mifune) who mortgages all he has to stage a leveraged buyout and gain control of a company called National Shoes, with the intent of keeping the company out of the hands of its other executives. Gondo disagrees with the executives over the direction of the company. One faction wants to make the company a modern mass market low quality manufacturer while the founder of the company tries to keep it conservative with good quality. Gondo believes he can split the difference by making high quality modern shoes. Then he learns that his son has been kidnapped. Gondo is prepared to pay the ransom, until he learns that the kidnappers have mistakenly abducted the child of Gondo's chauffeur, instead of his own son ....

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