High and Low

Synopsis: An executive mortgages all he owns to stage a coup and gain control of the National Shoe Company, with the intent of keeping the company out of the hands of incompetent and greedy executives. He needs the same money, though, to pay the ransom that will possibly save a child's life. His resolution of that dilemma -- the certain loss of the company vs. the probable loss of the child -- makes for one distinct drama, and an ensuing elaborate police procedure makes for a second.
Genre: Crime, Drama, Mystery
Director(s): Akira Kurosawa
Production: Criterion Collection
  Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 3 wins & 2 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
143 min

What brings you here?

National Shoes is in business

to make money.

Take a look at this shoe.

Will it increase our sales?


We're not losing money.

lt's a good shoe,

but it costs too much.

Old-fashioned too.

And another thing.

lt's too durable.

Shoes must wear out.

Shoes are accessories,

like hats and handbags.

Women want new styles

at moderate prices.


Our shoes are practical...

but hats don't wear long.

Shoes shouldn't either.

l don't agree with you.

Hats are decoration.

Shoes carry all your body weight.

You win.

You may be satisfied

with this kind of shoe...

but sales have been flat

for a whole year.

That's why we're here.

What do you want me to do?

Let me be frank.

We are the directors

of our firm.

l'm in charge of sales;

you, the factory;

lshimaru, design;

Kamiya, publicity.

Kawanishi's your top aide...

and a future executive.

We're all agreed

on what our problem is.

What is it?

Our president.

The Old Man's backward.

Army boots are more his style.

But he owns enough stock

to tell all of us what to do.

By the way...

Take a look at this design.

lt's a sure winner.

Good work.

And it can be made

at half the cost.


What would the Old Man say?

Who cares?

He owns a lot of stock,

but we can join together.

He has 25% .

You have only 21% .

You can't vote him out.

Gondo, you own stock too,

and we're counting on you.

How about joining us?

With your 13% ,

we'd have 34% .

We could out-vote the old mule.

And who'd be the new president?

Well, you'd be in the running.

But as the new policy

is Baba's idea...

he'll be the next president.

You, executive director.

Fair enough?

The Old Man may be old-fashioned...

but he makes real shoes.

Yours are trash.


l came to work at National Shoes

when l was 16.

l've been in that factory

for 30 years.

l know every sound and smell there.

l remember every shoe ever made--

all good, durable shoes.

l can't put our name on junk.

This wouldn't last a month.

There's no shank in it.

A cardboard base.

No sewing.

lt's just glued together.

You want money for this?

The costs!

The profits!

- Business is business!

- l know.

But this business

is my life and love.

l can't do this.

So you'll make

the Old Man's army boots?

No. The Old Man is wrong.

He's wrong. We're wrong.

Who's right?

l'll make my ideal shoes--

durable, yet stylish.

Expensive to make, maybe...

but profitable in the long run.

How romantic.

Only we won't let you.

lf we vote with the boss,

we can force you out.

Go ahead. The shareholders'

meeting is next month.

The gentlemen are leaving.

See them out.

You're leaving already?

Mrs. Gondo.

lsn't my husband

seeing you out?

What happened

between you and them?


Didn't look that way.

Don't worry.

You wouldn't understand.

lt's business.

Business. That's

what you always say.

What's his game?

You're his right-hand man.

You must know.

He's confident enough

to throw us out.

What is he up to?

Why didn't you ask him?

Don't be sarcastic.

lf you help us stop him...

we'll make you a director.

Don't tempt me.

You want to be his flunky forever?

Think it over.

Stop it, Jun!

They're furious.

Are we safe?

Wait and see.

Trouble again?

Looks like it.

They want to kick me out,

but l've taken steps.

They'll have to be

big steps. How?

Wait till it's all set.

Then l'll kick them out.

He takes after you.

He likes violent games.


Oh, it's you, Shinichi.

l'm the sheriff now.

Jun, is it your turn

to be the outlaw?

Then don't run.

Hide and ambush the sheriff.

A man's got to attack

or be attacked.

Go on, and win.

lt's getting worse.

Your attitude.

Success isn't worth

losing your humanity.

What do you know about it?

l just want to make good shoes.

Yes, it is.

Osaka Hotel?

You called Osaka?

One moment.

Room 310, please.

Gondo calling.

Hello, it's me.

How did it go? All settled?

How much? Within my limit?

Good work!

Yes, settle it.

Right away.

Say l'll send

the deposit tonight.

Call me back.

l'm counting on you.

l want you to go to Osaka.

Book a flight.

Use the other phone.

l'm waiting for a call.

ls everything all right?

l'm frightened.

Hello. lt's me.

So it's all set?

Just a moment.

Kawanishi's off at 10:00

with a check for 50 million.

Now a toast!

l kept it a secret,

but now l can tell you.

My share isn't 13% .

l've bought 15% more

over the last three years...

and l just arranged

for 19% more.

Even with the Old Man,

they're 46% to my 47% .

lt's a gamble,

but National Shoes is mine.

How did you raise the money?

l borrowed on everything,

even this house.

Raising 50 million was rough.

One yen less,

and Osaka would have refused.

l've bet my whole fortune on this.

Wait. This is just

the deposit, isn't it?

lt's only a third.

What about the other 100 million?

lf l have control of the firm,

l'll get the rest.

Too big a surprise?

Have a drink.

Excuse me.

ls my boy, Shinichi, here?

He's outside with Jun. Why?

l brought him this.

l'll call Jun.

Aoki, drive Kawanishi

to the airport.

Yes, this is Gondo.

What? You--

You have kidnapped my son?

Stop joking!

l'm not joking.


l have your son.

Do as l say,

and he'll be safe.

Get 30 million yen.


No consecutive numbers.


One thousand--

three thousand 5,000-yen notes...

and five thousand 1,000-yen notes.

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Hideo Oguni

Hideo Oguni (小国 英雄, Oguni Hideo, 9 July 1904 – 5 February 1996) was a Japanese writer who wrote over 100 screenplays. He is best known for co-writing screenplays for a number of films directed by Akira Kurosawa, including Ikiru, The Seven Samurai, Throne of Blood and The Hidden Fortress. His first film with Kurosawa was Ikiru, and according to film professor Catherine Russell, it was Oguni who devised that film's two-part structure. Film critic Donald Richie regarded him as the "humanist" among Kurosawa's writers. In 2013, Oguni and frequent screenwriting collaborators Kurosawa, Shinobu Hashimoto and Ryūzō Kikushima were awarded the Jean Renoir Award by the Writers Guild of America West.Writing credits other than for Kurosawa films include Heinosuke Gosho's Entotsu no mieru basho in 1953, Koji Shima's Warning from Space in 1956, Tora! Tora! Tora!, and Hiroshi Inagaki's Machibuse in 1970. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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