Kurosawa’s ‘High and Low’ at Vista Theatre

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“High and Low” (1963, 143 minutes), directed by Akira Kurosawa, will be screened on Saturday, Oct. 12, at 10 a.m. at the Vista Theatre, 4473 Sunset Dr. in Los Angeles, as part of the “12 Months of Akira Kurosawa” series.

Notes from Craig Hammill, 35mm Secret Movie Club programmer/organizer: “As if sensing he was at a crossroads and could go on making samurai movies the rest of his life, Kurosawa completely switched gears after the monster back-to-back hits of ‘Yojimbo’ and ‘Sanjuro’ to make the modern-day adaptation of a crime novel by Ed McBain.

“The literal translation of the Japanese title might actual be a better translation: ‘Heaven and Hell’ (Tengoku to Jigoku), as it describes the two worlds we glimpse in the movie. The first half of the movie takes place almost entirely in the hilltop mansion of Toshiro Mifune’s hard-working shoe factory boss Gondo while the second half of the movie takes place in the horrific junkie alleyways, heroin dens, bordellos, and night clubs of ’60s Tokyo.

“The premise is again just dynamite. A kidnapper kidnaps what he thinks is Gondo’s son, only to realize he has kidnapped Gondo’s valet’s son. But this works to the kidnapper’s advantage as he insists Gondo pay him anyway even though the kidnapped boy is not his son.

“Gondo is on the cusp of a hostile takeover of the shoe company for which he has been factory boss and faces a devil’s decision: use the money he’s scrimped, saved, and borrowed to buy the company to save a child that is not his own and thus face complete professional ruin that will leave his own family in poverty — or protect his family by taking over the company but living with a child’s probable death on his conscience.”

For reservations, click here.

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