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High and Low (1963)

NOTE: This commentary is only available on the High and Low Criterion Edition DVD and Blu-ray releases.

Commentaries on this disc:

Commentary 1: Film historian and Akira Kurosawa scholar Stephen Prince Rating:9.0/10 (3 votes) [graph]Login to vote or review
Reviewed by Tekker on November 9th, 2008:Find all reviews by Tekker
Yet another perfect commentary, courtesy of film historian and author Stephen Prince.
He provides an in-depth analysis of the filmm it's background and the context of the time periode in which the film plays out.

Required listening!
Reviewed by krisveldhuizen on October 3rd, 2011:Find all reviews by krisveldhuizen
Film historian and Kurosawa scholar Stephen Prince gives a constant flow of information on a variety of topics such as Akira Kurosawa's life and his ideas, but also on the history of film in general, the history of Japan, the film's own history as well as many ideas behind the film. Not only does Prince tell us a lot about the actors and crew of the movies, but he also tells us a lot about the actual making of it.

The commentary track never bores (I listen to a lot of commentary tracks and Prince by far is the most engaging commentator) and really helps in understanding the film on a wholly different level. I have written this review for the commentary track on Akira Kurosawa's 'High and Low', but it really goes for every Kurosawa movie that Prince has commented on.

This man knows his Kurosawa as well as his film history!
Reviewed by grimjack on February 14th, 2022:Find all reviews by grimjack
Prince points out how this was considered an unimpressive Kurosawa film for some time because of the other films shot before and after it, but other than compared with Kurosawas other masterpieces, this film stands out as one of the finest police procedurals ever filmed.

He points out and brings up the differences between the book (American detectives in Manhattan) and the film, and which he thinks worked better. And it is interesting how the book ends about an hour before the film does. He spends some time talking about the specific filming techniques Kurosawa came up for this film, and how that style was how he filmed every film from here on.

He also comments on how the long opening works almost like a stage play, even though it took place on two sets that looked similar (one for night, and one for day). And later shots were on a real moving train, and a fake street set to show wild nightlife.

But like the film, his commentary loses steam as it goes along. He spends about 5 min talking about famous kidnappings in Japan that led to this being a hot issue. Another couple about all the US military personnel in the bar scenes. Another couple about the heroin trade and jazz in Japan in the early 60s.

Overall, worth listening to, but not as good as some of Princes other tracks.