International Title:
High and Low
Japanese Title:
Heaven and Hell
US Title:
High and Low
Alternate Title:
The Ransom
Production: Toho
Distributor: Toho
Japan Release Date Japan Running Time
1963 143 Minutes
US Distributor: Continental
US Release Date US Running Time
1963 143 Minutes

Directed by Akira Kurosawa
Writing credits Akira Kurosawa, Ryuzo Kikushima, Hideo Oguni, Ed McBain, Eijiro Hisaita
Produced by Akira Kurosawa, Ryuzo Kikushima, Tomoyuki Tanaka
Music by Masaru Sato
Stock Music by Franz Schubert
Cinematography by Asakazu Nakai, Takao Saito
Production Design by Yoshiro Muraki
Film Editing by Akira Kurosawa
Kingo Gondo Toshiro Mifune
Tokura, Chief Detective Tatsuya Nakadai
Reiko Gondo Kyoko Kagawa
Kawanishi, Gondo's Secretary Tatsuya Mihashi
'Bos'n' Taguchi, Chief Detective Kenjiro Ishiyama
Arai, Detective Isao Kimura
Nakao, Detective Takeshi Kato
Aoki, Chauffeur Yutaka Sada
Ginjiro Takeuchi, Medical Intern Tsutomu Yamazaki
Kamiya, National Shoes Publicity Director Jun Tazaki
Ishimaru, National Shoes Design Department Director Nobuo Nakamura
Baba, National Shoes executive Yunosuke Ito
Chief of Investigation Section Takashi Shimura
Shimada, Detective Hiroshi Unayama
Factory Worker Eijiro Tono
Prison Warden Masao Shimizu
Chief of First Investigating Section Susumu Fujita
Junkyard Employee Kamatari Fujiwara
Murata, Detective Yoshio Tsuchiya
Reporters Minoru Chiaki, Koji Mitsui, Kazuo Kitamura
Jun Gondo Toshio Egi
Shinichi Aoki Masahiko Shimazu
Chief Physician Gen Shimizu
Yamamoto, Detective Akira Nagoya
Creditors Kyu Sazanka, Jun Hamamura, Ko Nishimura
Executors at Tax Office Masao Oda, Takeo Matsushita
Chief Prison Officer Yoshifumi Tajima
Fish Market Worker Koji Shimizu
Shimizu, Detective Hiroshi Unanzan
Takahashi, Detective Yoshisuke Makino
Koike, Detective Tomoo Suzuki
Messenger Who Passes Note to Takeuchi Senkichi Omura
Identification Center Worker Kazuo Kato
Yokohama Station Trolley Man Ikio Sawamura
Murder Victim Keiko Tomita
Nakamura, Detective Seiichi Taguchi
Ueno, Detective Kiyoshi Yamamoto
Hara, Detective Kenji Kodama
Detectives Jun Kondo, Kazuo Suzuki, Kozo Nomura
Drug Addicts Kin Sugai, Isamu Onoda
Monster Appearances Aliens, SDF, Misc
None None
Stock Footage Other Points of Interest
None Deleted Scenes

Region 1 High and Low Criterion (1998) Order
Region 1 High and Low Criterion (2008) Order
Region 2 Heaven and Hell Toho (2003)

Cut Scenes

Gondo and Tokura Say Farewell

Gondo and Tokura Say Farewell

Following Ginjiro Takeuchi's breakdown, Kingo Gondo leaves the cell to meet with detective Tokura. The two have some final words as they walkout together before the movie ends.

The ending to High and Low was fairly up in the air until the last moments of production, facing many revisions involving the Gondo and Tokura characters. One of the earlier drafts had the pair walking while Gondo mentions that "Heaven isn't always found someplace up high", before the camera was to pan up to his former house high on the hill, a line and sequence which would have played well on both the original (Heaven and Hell) and international (High and Low) titles for the movie. Another ending had the two walking into the woods before the picture ended, while yet another had the pair shaking hands while Tokura notes the texture of Gondo's hand and relates how this was a man who truly worked his way up before the kidnapper Takeuchi broke him down to his current position.

The one that was filmed, however, was more mundane and quick in its closure of the production. This scene was used for the trailer of the movie, but ended up on the cutting room floor in post production by Akira Kurosawa who felt that the movie's closure was far more powerful with leaving Takeuchi's scream and being dragged off as the final scene.


Miles Imhoff Star Rating
February 22, 2006