Monday, February 18, 2008

87. Film Review #10: Criterion Collection Spine #233: Akira Kurosawa: NORA INU (Stray Dog) (1949) (Part One)

A detailed analysis of the above film. Part One.

NORA INU (Stray Dog) (1949)

This orange type is used to show how Kurosawa indicated HEAT in this film!

Toho logo: "Toho Company, Ltd. Presents" -- fade to black.
Up on black background, white lettering: "A Shintoho Production"

Up close on a panting dog: "Produced in 1949"

Before we get any further with the credits, let's see what AK has to say about this dog:

"...That first shot of the panting dog with its tongue hanging out caused me immense woes. The dog's face appears under the title of the film to create the impression of heat. But I received an unprovoked complaint -- or, rather, accusation -- from an American woman who had watched the filming. She represented the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and claimed that I had had a healthy dog injected with rabies. This was a patently false charge. The dog was a stray that we had obtained from the pound, where it was about to be put away. The people in charge of props had given it affectionate care. It was a mutt, but it had a very gentle face, so we used makeup to give it a more ferocious appearance, and a man on a bicycle exercised it to make it pant. When its tongue started to hang out, we filmed it. But, no matter how carefully we explained all this, the American S.P.C.A. lady refused to believe it. Because the Japanese were barbarians, injecting a dog with rabies was just the sort of thing we would do, and she had no time for the truth ... In the end, I was forced to write a deposition, and I never at any other moment experienced a stronger sense of regret over Japan's losing the war" [AK, p. 174].


Hayasaka's score begins.

"Stray Dog" "c. Toho Co., Ltd., MCMXLIX"

The rest of the credits are superimposed over this close-up on the dog. After the director's credit, the score fades and the panting of the dog is heard again. A narrator speaks:

"One very hot day..."

Cut to police headquarters. Inspector Nakajima: "Your pistol was stolen?"

"Yes! I'm sorry, sir!" This is Murakami, the detective (Toshiro Mifune).

Cut to an overhead sign: "1st Investigation Sec."

Cut back to Murakami and Nakajima. The narrator begins:

"Police Detective Murakami's pistol was stolen."

Nakajima: "How many bullets were in it?"

Murakami: "All seven, sir."

Nakajima: "A colt?"

Cut to the rifle range.

Narrator: "A colt was stolen." The camera looks down the line of policemen at gun level. Presumably, Murakami's pistol is the one in the foreground.

Cut to four targets -- we see bullets hitting the ground beyond the targets.

Cut to a long angle on the policemen, from behind -- lines of more policemen waiting behind each shooter. The narrator continues:

"It was on his way home."

Cut to Murakami and his fellow policemen walking off the range. Murakami is reloading his gun and puts it in his pocket.

"Points?" someone asks.

Murakami: "On duty last night. A poor score."

"No hits?"

Murakami: "One hit the stump behind the target."

"Say, red eyes. Get to bed."

Murakami: "Everything looks yellow. Excuse me." They part ways.

Cut to a large open area -- we see Murakami walking into the frame. As the narrator speaks, he is wiping the sweat away -- a frequent gesture which occurs repeatedly throughout the film!

Narrator: "Murakami is very tired. The heat is unbearable."

Close cut to his white shoes, walking across the dusty plaza...

Cut to a truck moving by -- the camera remains focused on the tire tracks left by the vehicle...

Cut to the blurred view from a moving bus. Cut to reverse angle, showing Murakami stuffed amidst all the people. The narrator resumes:

"He feels suffocated in the bus. A baby wails. The cheap perfume of the woman beside him is sickening."

The camera moves in close on a sweating Murakami. The bus lurches to a stop. People pour out of the bus. Murakami feels for his gun -- it is gone! He pushes his way off the bus...

Cut to an overhead shot of Murakami, standing by the curb, next to the bus. He spots the suspect, who appears to be looking back at the detective. A chase begins.

Cut to an alleyway. Murakami chases the man.

Cut to a close-up on the man; close on Murakami...

Cut to a long shot from the middle of a wide street, on the suspect running towards the camera; Murakami still chasing -- the camera pulls back, the suspect runs out of the shot, Murakami is just coming up...

Cut to a wall. The suspect runs by. Murakami follows, and he slips on the sandy soil. He gets up and the camera follows him as he pursues. He comes to a four-way intersection. He lost his man. The camera follows him as he looks down the streets in all directions, without success.

Dissolve to police headquarters. Murakami stands ramrod straight before Inspector Nakajima. "I am ready for my punishment. I..."

Nakajima: "Stop saying that. This isn't the Army." He gets up to leave.

"What should I do, sir?"

"Do? Don't just stand till action is taken." He pauses, thinking himself. "See the officer in charge of pickpockets." He leaves.

HORIZONTAL WIPE (to the right) #1

Sign: "3rd Investigation Sec." Officer Ichikawa sits on a bench, fanning himself.

"Hard luck, wasn't it? Think you'll be fired?"

The camera pulls back to reveal Murakami standing next to this man. "I think so."

"Your Chief is...?"

"Inspector Nakajima."

Ichikawa laughs. "The Inspector has a stern face, hasn't he? He looks as if he'd bite you but he has his good side. He's not going to fire you." He motions to Murakami -- "...have a seat." Murakami sits.

"Remember the pickpocket's face?" Murakami answers affirmatively. "Refer to the M.O. cards for photos of previous offenders. His M.O. would be 'public Conveyance Pickpockets'."

HORIZONTAL WIPE (to the right) #2

Murakami is in a narrow, but tall, records vault. He is looking through a library-style box of index cards. Next to him, another man is pulling out other boxes from the shelves.

Murakami: "Anything else?"

Man: "Age, sex, M.O. and method used to crack them ... that's about all."

Just then Ichikawa walks in. "Find him?" He continues to fan himself. "Has his points ... Your Chief phoned. He asked me to help you." Murakami is silent, his head bowed.

"What is it?"

"He's not here."

"Pickpockets don't always keep what they take." Murakami looks up at him. "Sometimes they pass it on. Any other suspicious characters on the bus?"

Murakami thinks. "A middle-woman [middle-aged?] wearing a dress."

"Where was she?"

"On my right! Where I had my pistol!"

"I'd suspect her! Some women are tough ones!" To the other man: "Say ... the women's cards."

This man climbs a ladder to reach a box high up in the vault. He hands the box down to Murakami. Murakami begins to look through it. He wipes sweat away from his forehead with his arm. Ichikawa begins to fan Murakami vigorously. Murakami gives him a look, and he stops. Ichikawa puts his fan down and picks up a few cards. "All familiar faces." He comes to one particular card and grunts:

"The train pickpocket died recently." He hands his card to the other man.

Other man: "Is that so?"

Murakami finds the right card: "I found her! This one!"

Close up of woman's mug shots. "I'm sure of it!"

Ichikawa: "Wore a dress?" Murakami studies the mug shots. "Strange ... Ogin's famous for her kimono. Works downtown."

Murakami: "It's her with a permanent! And perfume!"

"A permanent? Times do change."

Murakami, to the other man: "All the facts on her!"

Ichikawa: "Never mind, I even know how many moles she has. But her specialty's cash -- why'd she pick a pistol? Down on her luck."

Murakami: "Where is she?"

Ichikawa: "I know, but she'd never confess."

"I'll manage."

"Manage, eh?"

"Anyway, take me!"

"Anyway, eh?"

HORIZONTAL WIPE (to the left) #1

From inside a ferry boat, looking out a wide door -- Murakami is standing on the deck. Ichikawa is sitting on a short post, still fanning himself.

Dissolve to the two detectives walking by some children in front of a house.

Dissolve to inside the house. Murakami is sitting by the door, alone. looking around. He takes his hat off and sits is down. He pulls out his own fan and begins to fan himself.

Ichikawa walks in with a tray of tea. He moves to sit down...

"The old man had a sunstroke and is in bed." He takes off his hat. He picks up a cup of tea. "He's already 78."

Murakami: "She'll come?"

Ichikawa: "Ogin? She still comes once a day. They're loyal in small ways." He pulls out his glasses and puts them on. "Came regularly when this place flourished [teahouse?]." He picks up a section from the newspaper and begins to read. He hands Murakami another section. They read. Suddenly Murakami reacts violently to something in the paper.

"What is it?"

"About a pistol thief."

"That surprises an officer in Homicide?"

"No, but if it's my gun..." Cut to their reaction shots. First, Ichikawa looks towards the door, then Murakami. Cut to Murakami, rising (as usual, first in the longer shot, then in close-up).

Cut to Ogin at the door. She is looking at Murakami then her gaze changes towards Ichikawa. The camera follows her gaze to:

Ichikawa, smiling: "Well, stranger."

Ogin: "Officer Ichikawa? Thought you were dead."

He laughs. "What a greeting." He takes off his glasses. "Nicer than I though."

"What is?" Cut to a longer shot, taking in all three. [Murakami from behind, Ogin walking in in the middle and Ichikawa, sitting, also from behind.]

Ichikawa: "Your dress. He tipped me off and I suddenly wanted to see you." She begins to fan herself. Motioning towards Murakami: "Know him, don't you?" The camera dollies over to an opposite POV -- as Ogin moves to sit -- and eventually coming to rest with all three facing forward, Murakami, Ichikawa and Ogin.

"Afraid not. No interest in young men at my age."

"Slippery as the loaches [fish] you eat." Murakami sits. Ichikawa fans himself again.

[By the way, if you look carefully -- you can see a few nearly-naked young boys running around and playing outside the open door.]

Ogin: "Stop joking! What'd I do?"

Ichikawa: "What were you up to on that bus?"

Murakami, suddenly standing: "Return my pistol! I'll forget the rest!"

Ogin: "Cut out the funny stuff."

Murakami, a short bow and a grunt: "Please! Just return it!"

Ichikawa: "Help him. He's new yet. Don't trip up a promising man."

Ogin, to Ichikawa: "It's against human rights! I'll sue!"

Ichikawa: "Oh, you know fancy words."

Ogin: "I know more."

Ichikawa: "What?"

Ogin: "Bye-bye" [in English]. They watch as she leaves. Close on Ichikawa, looking confused. He puts his hand on his face and brings it down to his nose. "Can't manage her!"

Murakami: "I will!" He reaches down for his hat.

Ichikawa: "...but..."

Murakami: "I'll stick till she confesses!" He bows. "Thanks!" He runs out.

Close on Ichikawa, looking through the door. He yells after him: "Be careful of exits, too!"

Cut to Ogin, walking with an umbrella (protection from the heat). Small children are playing. She ducks down an alleyway. At the very end of this shot we see Murakami running after her.

Cut to a new POV at the end of a tighter, narrower alleyway. She folds up her umbrella and looks behind and sees him chasing her. She runs. He runs after her.

Cut to another POV -- a wider street. She ducks into a corridor. He goes into a parallel alley and meets her out in a large, open area. Children are playing. She puts up her umbrella again. He wipes his neck with his handkerchief.

HORIZONTAL WIPE (to the left) #2

Crossing a bridge over a river. Cars pass in the foreground. They are walking on the other side of the bridge. He is about 30 feet behind her.

HORIZONTAL WIPE (to the left) #3

A wide, crowded set of steps. She runs up, he follows.

HORIZONTAL WIPE (to the right) #3

On a bus again. She is in foreground, holding onto a ring/strap, fanning herself energetically. He is on the other side of the aisle. They exchange glances.

HORIZONTAL WIPE (to the right ) #4

Close on her, walking quickly, fanning herself. Close on him. He takes off his hat and wipes his face. Cut to her, looking back; cut to him, putting his hat back on.

HORIZONTAL WIPE (to the right) #5

POV inside a beauty parlor. We see her come by the front window, duck into the shop and up some stairs. Murakami arrives, looking up the stairs after her. He pauses, wiping his neck. Suddenly, he wheels away from the doorway and begins to run...

Cut to an alleyway with a steep wooden ladder staircase leading up to a door. The door opens -- she comes out and down the stairs. At the bottom, she again opens her umbrella. A group of girls play nearby. As she heads down this alleyway, Murakami appears, blocking her path.

She turns and heads the other direction (towards the camera)...

HORIZONTAL WIPE (to the right) #6

She is at a bar, pouring a bottle of beer into a glass. She downs the glass and pours herself another. He is sitting right outside, drinking something from a bottle, as well.

HORIZONTAL WIPE (to the left) #4

She is running across a wide street to catch a trolley. She gets on and sits down. Everyone is fanning themselves. Suddenly, she looks up, with shock and surprise and rises from her seat.

Cut to Murakami, running to catch the trolley. He does so.

Cut to her, close, giving him a look. She sits down and fans herself.

HORIZONTAL WIPE (to the right) #7

She is walking, fanning herself, he is right behind her now. "Stop tailing me!"

"If you'll tell me."

"I'll sue you!"

"Just going your way."

"As you like!" He runs ahead of her. He begs her: "Please! Just a hint!"

Long angle from a wide street in a nice-looking residential neighborhood. She ignores him and crosses the street. He follows. She crosses back to the other side. He follows. He keeps running in front of her, as before.

HORIZONTAL WIPE (to the right) #8

She is slumped over a table in a cramped back room of a bar. Behind her and the usual curtain partition, we see a man, from behind. We hear (and see the lights of) a train. The man comes through the curtains to the back to the kitchen area, lifting up Ogin's foot which was in the way. He tends to his kitchen.

Ogin: "What time is it?"

Cook: "That's the 11:30 down train." The sound of the train is replaced by someone playing the harmonica.

Ogin: "Is he still here?"

Cook: "Yes. The mosquitoes are thick, so I invited him in. Said he'd wait outside since he wasn't drinking. A rare young man. I don't know what it's about, but go say something."

Ogin: "Beer."

Cook: "Better stop."

Ogin: "It's not for me."

Cut to outside. In the foreground sits the harmonica player. Up above him in the background, sitting on a sort of a log platform, is Murakami. Behind him, in the far background, a woman takes down laundry from a clothesline. Ogin reaches up to Murakami to hand him something:

"Here. You must be hungry. Eat this. Go ahead. Take them!" He does so, and she walks around to the other side to climb up to this platform of logs. "You win. Eat it. The beer's cold..."

Murakami: "I'd rather..."

Ogin: "I know. That's why I said you win." The camera begins to move in on them. "I'll give you a little hint. See pistol men."

Murakami: "The pistol men?"

Ogin, laughing: "Unlicensed dealers. There's a place that sells or rents second-hand guns."


"I don't know." She pauses. "Act down and out and hang around the amusement centers. I hear pistol dealers come up to you. Now -- lay off me." She is tying up her hair with a scarf. "What a day! First time a Homicide Officer chased me all day ... I'm all in." She lies down across the log platform. She is looking up at the stars.

"Oh how beautiful!"

Cut to a close POV right behind and under her head -- looking up at her and Murakami and a field of stars filling the top of the frame. "I'd forgotten how nice the stars are for about 20 years." He looks at her and then looks back up the stars, as well ... Fade to black.

[Now begins the longest section of silence (no dialogue) in any of the films to this point -- eight minutes and 48 seconds.]

Up on new music and a crowded street scene. What we see is a very clever illusion. Some children are looking into a storefront window. Almost everything else is a reflection back from that window. We see that clearly when the children turn around and we see their reflections as they go in the opposite direction. In front of this window walks a scruffy-looking character -- looking like a down-and-out war veteran -- it is Murakami, undercover.

Dissolve to feet, walking away from the camera on a strip of sunlight (three seconds)...

Dissolve to feet and legs, in a crowd (three seconds)...

Dissolve to his legs. Simply by watching the angle of his feet, we can see that he is stopped at an intersection and is looking around, trying to decide where to go. Behind him, we see views of "complete" people, with bicycles, etc. Finally, the legs begin to move in one direction (12 seconds)...

Dissolve to a close-up of his face (one second) [the music changes here to one of those familiar postwar South American tango-type of "cabaret" numbers]...

Dissolve to a close-up on his back (four seconds)...

Dissolve to another frontal close-up (one second)...

Dissolve to a close-up left profile (two seconds)...

Dissolve to a close-up right profile; he turns (three seconds)...

Dissolve to a cut which is probably the most unusual and interesting in the canon so far:
A double-exposure: The camera is pointed directly up at the sun, filtered only by the reed matting of the roofing. A ghostly shadow of Murakami flits in and out of this sun shot. We see him taking off his hat and wiping his face. This is a magnificent shot! (about 12 seconds)...

Dissolve to a crowd shot -- still daytime -- the overhead covering looks similar to the above, but more open (about three seconds)...

Dissolve to another shot -- the alleyway is still "covered" with a criss-cross pattern -- we can see lights dangling from some of these horizontal strips -- it is night (about two seconds)...

On cue, the music changes to a sleepier, Hawaiian-type, song. Murakami is walking in front of a cabaret called "BANDA" [they have a band?] -- he approaches some seedy-looking characters, makes eye contact, and moves on.

Dissolve to another very crowded scene -- in front of a brightly-lit sign, throngs of people pass by. The camera moves into the crowd. Murakami is standing under the sign in the rear of the shot. The camera slowly moves in on him -- he's just standing there, looking at the people. The music changes to something a little faster...

Dissolve to an ECU of his eyes, shifting from side to side. This shot is used as a background for the double-exposures which follow: feet walking; two long shots -- both beginning high in the cityscape and panning down to crowd scenes [the second of these shots, though brief and part of a double-exposure, is very interesting. It shows a major Tokyo street with huge signs and banners on either side of the street, and towering construction cranes off in the distance]; an overhead moving shot of a crowded street; another crowd shot; feet walking again; and finally

It is daytime again -- he is coming towards the camera on a crowded walkway; when he reaches the camera, it stays on his face as he continues walking...

...double-exposure begins with a smooth leftward pan on all the poor people hanging around...

His face dissolves out of this, leaving the shot of only the people; back on him, in medium shot, in another double-exposure with a crowd of people...

The camera follows him close, then

Dissolves on a group of people in a park -- he is in the back coming up through some trees -- a man in front is getting a haircut;

Dissolve to another part of the park. He walks by several people slurping on popsicles. He eyes them enviously. He stops and exchanges evil glances with a couple of other characters.

Dissolve to a close-up of water spurting up out of a fountain. He takes a big drink. He sticks his face in the water and wipes it off.

Dissolve to a medium long shot of Murakami walking along. A man with big musical notes on his shirt walks out of a door. (A loud train whistle sounds. We can hear the train through the next two cuts.) Murakami follows him along, asking him something. The man gives Murakami a funny look and walks away.

Dissolve to a new area -- he walks by two girls, hanging out, smoking -- over to three very scruffy-looking guys, who wave him off...

Dissolve to a metal grate, people hanging out and smoking in the shadows; More quick dissolves follow:

Dissolve to feet level again. His legs and another's (three seconds)...

Dissolve to a crowd scene -- the camera pans left (one second)...

Dissolve to a close-up of a bicycle. Again at foot level, we see his boots moving behind it.
A crowd is gathered. We see him go up on his tiptoes to peer out at something with the rest of the crowd. He moves on (seven seconds)...

Dissolve to a lengthy medium close shot of Murakami walking up and down the streets...

This dissolves into a similar shot -- closely tracked until

Dissolve into another double-exposure with a moving train. Dissolve into the train and then

Cut to POV behind his legs (all shot at leg level) -- looking out at the bottom of the train going by through his legs...

Dissolve to a group of people running through a crowd, followed by a group of the policemen who are chasing them! The camera, rather than following the chase, stays on the crowd, now gathering in for a better look at the chase. The camera stays on the crowd for a few beats...

Dissolve to Murakami -- again walking through a crowd. Sun is streaming through the rafters, creating beautiful patterns. The camera follows him from behind the tangle of shops and mass of people...

Dissolve on a crowded noodle shop. The camera pans slowly to the right, behind the man making the noodles, to Murakami, eating heartily...

Dissolve to another unique camera angle and great shot -- the camera is below an area (docks?) where down-and-outs are all hanging out. The camera dollies to the right, looking up at the reaches Murakami just as a policeman is tapping him on the shoulder. He reaches into his pocket and pulls out his wallet and shows the cop, who nods and salutes him! His cover blown in that particular spot, he gets up and moves on...[the music stops here in favor of the sounds of motorboats {I think}...]

[The pacing of the following cuts is quite rhythmic. The timing of each cut is noted.]

Dissolve to a few more shady-looking characters. Quick pan down to Murakami, at leg level, walking on (5 seconds)...

Dissolve to Murakami, coming down some steps. The camera pans down to his legs as he checks out groups of people huddled around fires (15 seconds)...

Dissolve to his feet again, walking in and out of patches of sunlight (nine seconds) [the ever-present accordion music begins again here];

Dissolve to a short cut of his feet, from behind (one second);

Dissolve to Murakami walking towards the camera in a large crowd. He bumps into several people (seven seconds); and finally a

Dissolve to Murakami walking up a completely deserted street, black clouds overhead. The combination of the empty street and the threatening weather makes this short cut (one second) a very interesting transition to...

Dissolve to people running around getting out of the rain! The music stops and only the sound of the rain is heard. The camera is at the end of an alleyway covered with reed matting. As the shot begins, a large group of people is running out of the frame right. Murakami enters the frame from the left. He is the only person not running. He looks around. and walks away from the camera. The escaping crowd has thinned out towards the end of this shot. The last man running towards the camera is wearing an A-frame sandwich board!

Dissolve to an overhead shot on a different street, which starts at a POV even with a dangling overhead light fixture, and slowly pans down on Murakami as he walks towards the camera. Other than someone behind him who has an umbrella, he is still the only one walking calmly -- everyone else is scattering from the rain...

Dissolve to Murakami sitting on a floor in front of a woman who is folding up a blanket. This seems to be a "flophouse." Holding his shoes in one hand and the blanket in the other, he navigates his way through a crowd of people...

Dissolve to a beautiful panning shot. We first see Murakami's reflection in a large puddle forming from the rain -- at the end of the shot the camera reaches the "real" Murakami [the music begins again here]...

Dissolve to Murakami, walking through yet another crowd of people...

Dissolve to another lovely, but short double-exposure. Close on Murakami, the camera walking with him -- looking, searching, double-exposed with a very washed-out sweep of the crowd, rushing by...

Dissolve to his feet, walking...

Dissolve to a new area [new music] -- some musicians setting up, walking through another crowd...

[Obviously you have to see all this to believe it. In my opinion, this entire sequence (8:48 of no dialogue) is a magnificent "Noh"-type filmic event. DR disagrees]:

"...[This film] is full of temporal miscalculations. One of them is the endless montage sequence of Mifune disguised and searching Asakusa and Ueno for his gun. It is a full ten minutes [8:48, actually!] of double-exposure, dissolves, fades, multiple images. The atmosphere is caught, to be sure (which was the reason for the montage), but it is so long that one expect summer to be over and autumn begun by the time it finally stops" [DR, p. 63].

It's even possible AK felt the same way:

"...Kurosawa does not think well of this film. 'I wanted to make a film in the manner of Simenon, but I failed. Everyone likes the picture but I don't. It is just too technical'" [DR, p. 62].

Murakami walks up to a shooting gallery. The girl in charge sits on a stool, eating a melon. Murakami is holding the rifle and

Cut to a closer shot; eyeing her melon.

"I want one."

"Got money? High. Good ones."

"How many slugs? How much?"

"Short time. Girls?"

"No, this?" He makes a fist, perhaps as though he's holding a pistol.

She quickly recoils back against a wall "Not my line!"

"Liar! Your pal tipped me."

"Get out, or I'll call the cops!" she screams.

This next shot is very cool. The camera's POV is behind the turning mechanism of the shooting gallery -- looking out at Murakami, the girl, and a crowd which has gathered...
Murakami fidgets, plays with his cap, wipes his forehead and leaves. His shirt is drenched in sweat. She runs back in front of the turning mechanism as he leaves...

Dissolve to a close-up of what we later learn is the stone perimeter of a medium-sized fountain -- we see a bag being tossed on it -- and then we see Murakami lying down, using the bag as a pillow. The music blends with the sound of a ship's horn in the distance.
We see a reflection of the statue in the middle of the pond . Murakami rests. A few beats. A splash in the water nearby...

Cut to a pulled back, longer shot -- Murakami looking up, the statue in the middle (some white marble naked ladies holding up a basket of some sort) and the boy who threw the stone into the water high above the opposite end of the fountain. He is tossing another rock up and down in his hand. We can see some ruins in the background.

Cut close on the boy. Cut back close on Murakami, who has barely lifted up his head, folding his arms, ignoring the boy and putting his head back down on his temporary pillow. [The sound of a train and its horn blend into the music here.]

This time the rock lands closer and its "plop" is louder. He sits up.

Cut back to the close-up of the boy, tossing another rock up and down in his hand; cut back to Murakami, eyeing him.

Cut to the long shot -- Murakami returns to his pillow, turning away from the boy. The boy jumps down from his perch to the fountain area. He steps up on the stone perimeter and slowly walks around the circle...

Cut to a new angle, the boy coming up to Murakami. The boy kicks one of his boots.
Murakami lifts his head slightly.

Boy: "Can't even get mad? You look strong enough. Buck up!"

A long pause. "Want a gun?" Murakami springs into a sitting position on the stone, his foot forward, staring at the boy.

"Don't stare! I asked if you wanted a gun!" The boy sits down. The marble naked ladies are perfectly framed in the middle by the two.

"How much?" asks Murakami in a barking tone.

"Easy, man. You're broke. Bring your rice card."

"My rice ration card?"

"Without it, no deal."

"I have it!" The boy gets up.

"Be at the Conga tea shop at 9. Look for a girl with a white flower in her hair." He has now moved forward towards the camera as he leaves. He turns and tosses his last rock into the pond, carefully missing Murakami! As he walks away, the camera holds on Murakami, staring intensely at his first big break!

HORIZONTAL WIPE (to the left) #5

The camera is several feet below the entrance, inside the Conga. Typical club music. Murakami walks in and comes down the steps. The camera pulls around to the left and follows him through a variety of people shots. The camera comes to rest behind a clear glass aquarium with little fishies in it, where a girl (Noriko Sengoku) is munching on a piece of fruit and has a white flower in her hair. Something is wrapped up in a knot around her left shoulder. Murakami looks around and just as he realizes it is her, the camera follows her as she moves away and through the club (many great details here: a woman getting a little push on the forehead, a man in a big white yakuza hat) and sits at a table. On the table is a refreshing beverage and a vase with a flower in it. When she finishes her fruit, she tosses it over the railing. She is looking that way when

Murakami sits down across from her. Immediate cut to a side POV from where she had tossed the fruit. They eye each other suspiciously. He makes some sort of a gesture with his fist to his mouth.

Cut closer on her, same POV. She takes the purse off of her shoulder and holding it over the railing removes a wrapped up package. She hands it to him.

"Your card." He begins to pretend to remove something from his pocket -- but suddenly he grabs her hand and the package, staring at her.

"Stop it!"

"Police!" And she's off. He catches her at the door.

HORIZONTAL WIPE (to the right) #9

The entrance to a police station. A policeman is splashing water from a bucket onto -- what? I can't tell -- Murakami and his prisoner approach.

Close-up, the girl in front center with Murakami and the other policeman slightly back, left and right. Murakami flashes some ID. "I'm from Hqs. May I question her in back?"

Policeman: "It's hot." Looking up -- "...a zinc roof. It's like an oven even at night." Both Murakami and the girl are drenched in sweat. They move inside. The policeman continues splashing water.

Cut to the two, walking into a room. Murakami unwraps the package and examines the gun. She sits and leans back on her arms.

"You have only these?"

"Any kind will sell." He bends down hopefully --

"Any Colts?"

"What's that?

"About this big" -- he begins to show her, then pulls out a pad of paper to draw it for her. In the meantime, she sighs and stands, shaking out her skirt and fanning her top to cool down. She sits again.

He finishes his drawing: "Like this."

"Yes, lent one out yesterday," she says, not even looking at his drawing! [she obviously knew what a Colt looked like!] -- she continues to fan her top...

He grabs her by the arms -- "When will it be returned?"

She breaks his grip. "Bother! Was getting it back tonight! Passed him at the door when you made me come!" Murakami runs out of the room. She yells after him: "He sure looked surprised!" She looks around the room for an escape route. She is beginning to try and climb out the window when he returns.

"Have his ration card? Let's see it!"

She sits. "New at it, aren't you? We get our share when the pistol comes back. We bargain over the price. Easy money. But it's tough work bargaining. For me..."


"The man reading the paper behind you kept watch. He has the ration card" Murakami turns to leave again. "Calm down! They've all cleared out by now!" She stands just as he sits. She tugs at her shirt again.

"Get a move on! Hurry and lock me up! It's so hot! I'll get baked in here!"

Murakami stands and walks out, she follows. "I won't be in jail long," she says, leaving an empty frame...

HORIZONTAL WIPE (to the left) #6

From behind, Murakami and another detective walking down a hallway at police headquarters.

Detective: "Hmm ... aren't you too anxious about your Colt? You should've tried to get all the guns, not just your own."

HORIZONTAL WIPE (to the left) #7

Close-up on [the same?] detective, in profile, and Murakami.

Detective: "A mistake arresting her. But, I know how you feel. But the one she lent may not be yours. There are lots of Colts."

HORIZONTAL WIPE (to the left) #8

Inspector Nakajima, at his desk, puts down his briefcase and grabs an electric fan sitting on a nearby table by the window.

"A girl was shot and robbed last night." He puts the fan on his desk. "The slug taken from her arm is in identification." He turns the fan on and stands directly in front of it. "It's from a Colt too."

The camera reverses angle. We finally see that Murakami is standing on the other side of the desk. He walks up to Nakajima...

Nakajima: "Don't imagine things. Can't afford to be sensitive in Homicide." He taps him on the shoulders and pauses. "You're thinner. A lot of leg work?"

Murakami: "Hm."

Nakajima: "It's good for a young man." He takes a paper from a drawer and hands it to Murakami.

"Your orders." He sits at his desk. "Half pay for 3 months. Why don't you rest today?"

Murakami moves forward again, as if to object. Nakajima grabs the fan and turns it around. He picks up his telephone and makes a call.

HORIZONTAL WIPE (to the right) #10

A sign: "Arms Identification Lab"

Cut to three lab technicians. In the foreground, one with cotton in his ears fires a gun. The other two have their fingers over their ears. The technician who fired the gun bends down and picks something up -- the camera moves gracefully behind a glass cabinet with guns in it -- and moves over to his microscope. Murakami enters the frame right.

The technician removes the cotton from his ears.

Murakami: "The Yodobashi case slug?"

Technician: "I handled it." He pulls out something from the glass case. "The bullet's not on our records." He takes the lid off of the case which holds the bullet. Murakami stares at it intensely. "Unrecorded bullets aren't much help in a case." He picks the bullet up from its case. "The lines in the bullet are like fingerprints ..." At this, Murakami is out of the frame in a flash. The technician is staring after him....

HORIZONTAL WIPE (to the right) #11

Murakami is bounding down a set of steps carved out in the woods -- he gets to the bottom and we see it is the target practice range -- other policemen are removing the large, wooden targets.

Cut -- Murakami runs up the berm behind the targets and is looking for something.

A policeman: "What is it?"

Murakami: "One lodged here."


Close-up on Murakami by a tree stump. He finds the bullet. He takes out his pocket knife and dislodges it from the stump.

HORIZONTAL WIPE (to the right) #12

Murakami and the bullet technician -- in the exact same position as when we left them a few wipes ago! "The same type?"

"Check it!"

"Where was it?"

"Please!" The technician gives him a look and takes the bullets to another desk area.
Murakami is sweating and panting. The camera follows him from behind the glass cabinet [beautiful!] -- music begins...the camera rests on Murakami staring at the technician...

Cut to a slightly off-center close-up. He stares expectantly.

Cut to the technician, putting the bullets under the scopes. Cuts back and forth between Murakami and the technician --

Close-up of what he is seeing under the scope! A bifurcated slide of a shiny bullet on the left and, for the moment, just blackness on the right...

Cut back to the technician moving the knob. Cut back to the close-up. We can see the bullet on the right moving around -- he is trying to match up the grooves...

Cut to Murakami; cut to the technician, turning the knob...

Cut to the close-up. He lines up the grooves.

Although this is now quite typical, this particular technique is pulled off to perfection here:

We start with an empty frame. This is where the technician's head will be in less than a second! He comes into the frame smiling:

"Congratulations!" Cut to Murakami. The camera pulls back. "From the same Colt. Good for you. Look!"

Murakami's reaction is bad. He is upset. "Thank you." The technician watches him leave, perplexed..

HORIZONTAL WIPE (to the left) #9

On a white piece of paper with beautiful writing on it! "Letter of Resignation" -- we see a hand reaching to pick it up. It belongs to

[cut] Inspector Nakajima, at his desk, with Murakami standing at attention in front.

Nakajima: "You feel responsible?"

Murakami: "I'm sorry, sir."

Nakajima tears up the letter and rises from his desk, moving right in front of the camera:

"Misfortune makes or breaks men." The camera holds on Murakami -- Nakajima speaks off-camera:

"Letting it break you?" The camera returns to Nakajima, walking back to his desk, on his back:

"You can turn bad luck to good" He turns around and faces Murakami: "Why not ask to handle the case? Inspector Abe's in charge. Want to help him?"

"Yes, sir!"

"Sato at Yodobashi is a famous Chief of Detectives. I'll phone you'll help him -- and that pistol dealer's girl -- check up on her again. It may help."

"Yes, sir. I'll be going!"

Cut to another police station. A guard patrols near a staircase.

Cut to another area. A man sits at a desk, the camera's POV directly behind and above him. People check in at this man's post. Murakami arrives. "No. 18."

"She's out."


"They're questioning her at Yodobashi -- in Room No. 4."

"Thanks." He leaves.

Cut to a narrow staircase. Murakami is coming up. He heads to Room No. 4. He hears laughter -- a woman's and a man's; his pace slows; he approaches the door...

Cut to an outside POV looking in on the room through bars (!) -- the girl sits on the left, Detective Sato (Takashi Shimura) on the right and Murakami is standing in the background, at the entrance to the room. The girl and Sato are slurping on popsicles. Sato notices him.

"Excuse me. I'm Murakami from 1st Section, Hqs."

Girl, to Sato: "He arrested me." Sato looks towards Murakami...

Cut to close-up. "I'm Sato."

On Murakami: "Officer Sato?"

Cut to an exact reverse angle of the first cut -- from behind Murakami's back -- Sato on the left, girl on the right, Murakami, from behind, in the center foreground...

"I was assigned to last night's case and told to team with you. Please permit me." He makes a little bow.

Sato: "Glad to know you." Sato turns his gaze to the girl and when she meets it, they both begin to laugh. As he slurps the popsicle, he begins to fan himself. Murakami moves to sit down.

Cut to a close shot from just behind the girl -- looking head-on at Sato, Murakami sitting in the back. [This extraordinary shot, with both the girl and Sato finishing up their melting popsicles, is -- well, delicious!]

Sato, to Murakami: "About the Colt she lent -- Inspector Abe told me. Pickpockets with Colts are rare." He returns his gaze to the girl: "What's the man you lent it to like?" We see Murakami taking out his notebook to take notes, a role he will continue to play, as Sato's assistant...

"Like? Let me see..." You can see the cold frost of the popsicle...

"Wore a winter suit."

Sato: "Black?" He's done -- he breaks the stick in two and puts it in the ashtray...

Girl: "How'd you know?"

Sato: "Left-handed, too..."

Girl: "Is he?" Sato wipes his hands. "Have a smoke and think..."

The girl throws her popsicle away (there was just a little left) and fans her perspiration-soaked shirt and turns to face him. We only see her back and Murakami's face in the background. She bends down a little, and we can see he lighting her cigarette. We see the smoke. She turns, facing the door, in profile now. She smokes the cigarette like a complete maniac. Murakami stares at her; Sato casually prepares to light his own cigarette, in a holder. She sits back...

"Oh, yes, he lit a match with his left hand. I remember it shook. I asked if he wasn't going to shoot himself."

"What's his name?"

She coughs. "I don't know."

Sato: "Liar. You saw his ration card."

Girl: "Yes, but it was too hard for me to read" Sato wipes his face. "I hated school..."

"Who has the ration card? What's his name?"

"Search me."



"Who, then? Your man since you hide it?" She looks uncomfortable.

"He's not!" She turns to face Sato: "A lie! It isn't!"

"A man's woman always hides his name."

She finally says something. "It's Honda!"

"Out with it all." She turns to face him again.

"Another smoke," she demands.

Sato ignores this request. "His hangout?"

"I don't know. I really don't!" Cut to the profile shot.

"He wouldn't tell me."

"Where does he usually go?"

"I don't know...oh, yes, crazy about baseball I heard. To the stadium, maybe."

"An ex-con?"

"Said he got two years for half-killing a girl. I was scared."


"Don't know." Sato picks up his smokes and gets up to leave:

"All right."

Girl: "Wait till I smoke this! No sympathy when you've finished."

Sato, to Murakami: "Will you find the card on Honda?" He begins to wipe his arms, forehead, chin and the back of his neck. "May be an alias, but enough to go on."

Murakami: "Where are you going, sir?"

"The coolest place."

HORIZONTAL WIPE (to the left) #10

Sato is sitting and/or sleeping on a bench on a bridge high above the city. Behind him are more black, threatening clouds. Murakami approaches him. "Detective Sato!" He opens his eyes.

"I found it! His real name's Tachibana!" Sato begins to wipe his face and neck.

"Some photos and a warrant!"

Murakami: "I don't know where it occurred on your plans."

"Your arresting her cracked the case. We'll get Honda, the ration card, then track down the gunman." He rises from the bench and begins to walk. Murakami follows.

Sato, thinking aloud: "A black winter suit and the Colt in his left hand."

Cut to an interesting close-up of the bars on the railing of the bridge walkway, looking down on the street between the slats. Sato is dragging his fan across the bars as he walks.

"It shook, no doubt." He turns to face Murakami. "He shot without thinking." Sato puts his hat on. "Plainly an amateur burglar. But a terrible loss for the victim." Sato continues walking, but the camera stays on Murakami. He asks: "A girl?"

Close on Sato, from behind. "Yes. Only 40,000 yen, but she'd saved 3 years for her wedding." The shot drops back behind Murakami. "...has to save up again. She'll be past her bloom ... 10 years including war years. It makes her cry more than the wound. A cruel Colt." With this last, Murakami stops dead in his tracks, while Sato keeps walking. Sato is unaware of Murakami's obsession about his Colt...

He turns when he realizes Murakami has stopped. "What is it?" Murakami turns away -- Sato walks over to him. Long shot with the dark clouds taking up 5/6ths of the frame.

"What's the matter?"

"It's my Colt, sir! It was stolen." He walks away, towards the camera. "If I hadn't failed..."

Sato moves over to him -- "...he'd have used a Browning then!"

Murakami thinks this over. The music delivers a few hints of thunder with timpani rolls...

Murakami: "I'm afraid something worse will happen." He looks out at the dark clouds. Fade to black.

Up on a sea of white shirts in the stands on the first base side of home plate at a baseball stadium! Baseball music! The home team (Giants?) is pouring out of their dugout to warm up on the sidelines; the grounds crew is preparing the field...

Dissolve to a medium shot of some players warming up;

Dissolve to another shot of players getting warm;

Dissolve to another (quick cut);

Dissolve to a close up of No. 17 throwing;

Dissolve to a longer shot of the players taking grounds and warming up;

Cut to a Giant, preparing to and then hitting a ball;

Cut to two different Giants doing the same;

Cut to two pitchers warming up;

Cut to Sato, right behind the screen, fanning himself. He wipes his forehead. Murakami enters the frame and sits next to him. "All taken care of, sir. Gave the vendors photos."

Sato: "Thanks."

Cut to the team taking grounders out on the diamond now. The camera pulls back.

Cut to Murakami and Sato again. Murakami is tense, worried. Sato, enjoying himself:

"Good game, isn't it?" He realizes Murakami is lost in his self-pitying obsession. "Again?"

"One thing worries me."


Murakami gets up from his seat, Sato follows.

Cut to a front view of them coming down the steps, away from the crowd...

Sato: "What?"

Murakami: "He went to return the Colt once. And he saw me arresting that girl. He thinks
I've his card. So if he committed that crime out of desperation..." He is resting his arms on something, right above the camera -- almost leaning right into the camera. Sato pats him on the back:

"Feeling guilty about the criminal too?"

"No, but he didn't rob the night he borrowed it! That means he borrowed it but didn't want to use it! He came to return it, but..."

"...that doesn't matter." Now Sato leans forward right into the camera. "Stopping the next crime's more important. He stole 40,000. Easy come easy go. And when it's gone...he'll hit again. Once doesn't make a habit, but twice..."

He turns back to face Murakami (on the right; Sato on the left, and the middle and top filled with the white of the sky, through the baseball screen):

"A stray dog becomes a mad dog. Right? -- Arresting Honda comes first." Sato turns to go back to his seat. "He'll be here today if he's a baseball fan."

Five cuts on the crowd. The last two show clearly show how hot it is, judging by the speed of the fans' fanning (ha ha).

The detectives are making their way back to their seats. They stop in an aisle -- blocking traffic...

Sato, looking around: "The seating capacity?"

Murakami: "50,000."

"One in 50,000." They start up the aisle towards their seats.

A vendor: "Ice Candy! How about an ice candy?" [the words "ice candy" are in English.]

Sato: "Hey, two." The kid gets the two candies and hands them to Sato.

Cut to a close-up of a photo of Honda, on top of the vendor's stack of money. He looks at them.

Cut to them, looking at each other. Sato scratches his nose.

Dissolve to the diamond, players taking the field; applause. Close on two players, one of them No. 25 -- the camera follows as he runs out to his position;

Cut to a medium shot of the batters box -- batter ready, catcher and umpire behind him.
The umpire yells out, in Universal English:


The pitcher for the Giants, No. 21, takes a big wind-up and throws it in. The opposing batter hits the ball to the Giants' shortstop, who makes a perfect throw to first. 6-3.

Cut to Sato, huge smile, as are the men in front of him. Murakami is still serious, however, and has his binoculars out, looking for Honda.

Cut to a crowd shot (approx. 100 people per frame) -- and slow rightward pan (four seconds)...

Dissolve to a closer shot (approx. 25 people per frame) -- and a slow leftward pan. The contrary motion is beautifully experienced in the initial dissolve (four seconds)...

Dissolve to a longer shot, looking up into the stands (100's in frame; others in shadows) (three seconds)...

Dissolve to a side shot (100's) (three seconds)...

Dissolve to another, with 100's of people. Several people rise from their seats and pump their fists (including one who looks non-Japanese) (two seconds)...

Cut to an outfielder leaping and

not making the catch ... Home run!

Dissolve to a pitcher, No. 19, throwing a pitch.

Cut to No. 16, a left-handed batter, hitting it.

Cut to a crowd shot (100's), heads turned towards the outfield...people getting up...

Cut to the outfielder, running back on the ball. He makes the catch and remains standing after hitting the wall while running back...

Dissolve to No. 9, a right-hander, hitting a ball to the third baseman, which he badly boots! Talk about preserving an error for posterity! The camera quickly pans back to first base as the hitter reaches and rounds the base, losing his cap on the wide turn -- he then scurries back to the bag...

Dissolve to a runner between second and third, chugging home. The throw goes there, he is safe, and another runner pulls up at third...

Dissolve to No. 23, a right-hander, apparently hitting the ball just past the second baseman...

Dissolve to No. 25, another right-hander, who hits a blooper into short center which lands untouched...

Dissolve to No. 7 [or possibly 17?] who attempts or fakes an attempt at a bunt -- trying to protect the runner, No. 25 from above, who is stealing second. The catcher (No. 28), makes a nice throw to the shortstop -- slightly high -- but the shortstop grabs it and whips down the tag and the runner is called out. Caught stealing!

Dissolve to another fielder running over near the stands to catch a foul ball. Nice attempt, but he doesn't catch it...

Dissolve to an outfielder running after a pop fly. He catches it...

Dissolve to another crowd shot -- very long, it takes in two decks of the stadium. The camera moves in (a shot of thousands becomes hundreds)...

Cut to a vendor, the camera behind him as he hawks his wares. We can see he has a photo of Honda he is referring to as he goes along. Honda, himself (Reisaburo Yamamoto), with sunglasses, is visible in the stands from the very beginning of this cut.

"Ice candy. Anybody for ice candy?"

Honda, sitting forward, getting out his wallet: "Hey, ice candy!"

The vendor quickly studies him and decides he matches the photograph (!) -- Honda leans forward with his money. The boy stammers out:

"Sorry, all sold out."

"Don't hawk it then!" The boy bows.

Cut to No. 23, a hit to right field.

Cut to the crowd all around Honda rising while he remains seated, putting his money away. Now he rises...

Cut to the right fielder, throwing the ball back in.

Cut to the runner -- a stand-up double...

Cut to Honda...

Cut to the vendor, moving through the crowd...

Dissolve to the vendor, pointing Honda out to Murakami and Sato -- both looking out at the crowd with binoculars. Murakami spots him. He starts to go after him.

Sato: "Wait, wait..."

Murakami: "Let me..."

"Is Honda all you can see?" He motions towards the crowd. "We can't endanger the crowds. Honda's probably armed. Bullets aren't fouled balls. [The words "foul ball" are in English.] Have to get him alone."

Murakami: "But how?"

"Think. There are 5 innings left."

Cut back to the game. A double play.

Dissolve to Murakami, walking along the concourse, behind the crowd. He paces.

Cut to No. 21, who hits a ball to the shortstop, who throws to home plate. They nail the runner at the plate, a great play!

Dissolve to Sato, cigarette in mouth, leaning against a rail, thinking...

Dissolve and move close on No. 16, a lefty, batting. The stadium announcer's voice (female) is heard. The umpire calls time for a moment...

Two cuts to fielders at the ready...

Cut and move in close on the batter, who smacks the ball...

Cut to a runner between second and third, making sure the ball drops in, and rounding third, coming to the plate; cut to another runner rounding third;

Dissolve to No. 21, pitching.

Cut to the batter, hitting it up the middle. The camera follows the runner going from first to third...

Dissolve to an infield grounder -- out of the inning...

Cut to Murakami, watching with his glasses...

Cut to Honda, from behind. He stands up. Murakami drops the binoculars, watching...he brings them back up...

Cut to Honda, stretching -- he's a beat or two ahead of the rest of the crowd...

Cut to Murakami's area -- everyone in front of him is standing and stretching -- it might be his first baseball game -- he looks confused by all this. [It's the 7th inning stretch.]

Quick cut to a long crowd shot...

Cut to Sato, still back away from the crowd, leaning against a railing. Murakami comes over to him -- "only 3 innings left!"

Stadium announcer: "A lost child. A lost child. Mr. Yamamoto, your son is on the roof of the broadcasting room. Please hurry over." Sato wipes his face. The crowd is laughing at something. Murakami moves back to check and Sato follows.

Cut to the crowd behind one of the dugouts. A little child is standing on the dugout roof. His father runs over and picks him up. The crowd laughs as he waddles off with the child in his arms...

Cut to Sato and Murakami. Sato gives Murakami a look, taps his arm and motions towards their spot behind the crowd.

Cut to that POV. Murakami and Sato -- other cops move in too...

Sato: "Let's page Honda!" Murakami nods and goes off. Hold on Sato and

Dissolve to a loudspeaker in a corner somewhere. "Mr. Honda of Ueno. Please come to the front gate."

Cut to the two cops, looking through their glasses...

Cut to Honda from behind. He looks back at the camera, then stands...

Announcer: "...your friend is waiting for you." He sits again.

The policemen drop back again.

Sato: "Didn't work?"

Murakami: "Once more..."

Sato: "Use his real name and see." Murakami is off again. Same as before -- hold briefly
on Sato, back with the crowd and

Dissolve to a loudspeaker. "Mr. Tachibana of Ueno..."

Cut to Honda from behind. "Mr. Tachibana of Ueno...your friend is waiting at the front gate." Again he stands and turns to face the camera. He turns his head. He appears to have taken the bait. He turns to leave.

Cut to the cops, quickly moving back.

Cut to a POV from down a set of steps. We can see the crowd back beyond the top of the stairs, watching the game. We then see Murakami and Sato run and walk by, respectively...

A few seconds later we see Honda, about to come down these steps towards the camera. The crowd lets out a big yell, and he rushes over to peer out. After the excitement dies down, he turns and comes down the steps towards the camera. He takes off his sunglasses. [It is only now that you can see that this is the same actor who played Okada in Drunken Angel!] The camera follows him from behind as he descends the next set of steps. Cut to a new frontal view -- he pauses, seems puzzled. He reaches the bottom of this set of steps and he pauses, looking around. He sees something which startles him. He reaches into his inside breast pocket and fingers his gun. He peers around the corner and then recoils back.

Cut to the previous angle -- he is running back up the steps. He freezes, eyes bugging out:
"Hands up!" He drops his gun.

Cut to a longer shot, dropped back behind Sato, although we can't tell it's him yet. Slowly, like a ballet, Sato and Murakami descend the steps -- Honda with his hands up, walks backwards.

Close on Honda as he backs himself against a wall. The crowd roars. Fade to black.

Up on an ECU of: "Rice Ration Book -- Name: Shinjo Yusa"

Dissolve to a table of white-shirt detectives. POV looking down the table at the lone figure directly opposite -- four or five detectives are on either side of the table...

The lead detective: "A wonder Honda didn't tear it up."

Sato, sitting next to him: "Mad he didn't get the Colt back. Meant to use it later."

Other: "Hard to forget old habits?" Laughter all around.

Lead detective, to others: "Will you check up thoroughly on Yusa?"

Sato: "How many days until the roundup?"

Other: "Wish it'd rain."

Other: "Too hot to think." Sato wipes his face. Another fans himself...

Lead: "Leg work, Detectives Sato and Murakami." At the very end of this cut, they are rising...

HORIZONTAL WIPE (to the left) #11

Medium close on Murakami (middle background), Sato, smoking, fanning himself in the foreground, and a woman on the right, same depth as Murakami.

Sato: "Then Shinjiro Yusa's your brother?"

Woman: "Yes. Has he done something? He hasn't been back for a week." The detectives exchange quick glances.

Sato: "Nothing much."

Woman: "Back from the war, he changed completely." The camera begins to move to the left -- one of the first details we notice is that Murakami is taking notes in his little book. When the camera rests, the woman is now in the middle of the filmic composition. "...His knapsack with his whole fortune was stolen in the train. Made him go bad." A man we've seen puttering in the background chimes in:

"You spoiled him!"

Woman: "You're too severe." The man gets up.

"Blaming the world, the war! Playing the martyr ... won't do honest work"

Woman: "His friend's to blame -- a hoodlum comes to see him -- a regent hair-style ... that disgusting hair-cut. He's a bad one!"

Murakami: "His name?"

Woman: "He called him Sei. Buddies at the front."

Murakami: "Sei's home?" She doesn't have an answer.

Sato: "May we see his things?"

Woman, laughing nervously, as she has throughout this scene -- "He hasn't much. Just the junk in the orange box." She points and bows politely. The woman and the detectives get up and the man begins to hammer on the coffin he's working on. [He's a cooper -- a profession which features a character we'll meet up again with in Yojimbo!] The camera moves to the right as the woman is handing Sato a box. "He's gentle, but he's weak." Sato looks through something. The woman looks at the man, hammering. Some children appear at the door.

Woman: "Play outside!" The detectives are going through the contents of the box. The cooper looks back at them occasionally, between hammering.

Sato: "Your brother sleeps here?"

Woman: "No -- in back."

Sato: "A room in back?" The cooper is staring at them.

Woman: "No, he built it himself out of old lumber."

Sato, standing: "Can we see it?"

Woman: "It's hardly a room, and so dirty." The policemen are out the door, the woman following. The cooper, a mad, disgusted look on his face, continues with his work. The woman gives him a look as she steps out the door.

Cut to a beautiful overhead shot of this room. It is no bigger than a typical farm outhouse. In this shot, we can see Sato and Murakami over in the far upper right corner of the frame, and she is just stepping out the door. The act of her beginning to open the door is [naturally] begun in this nice overhead shot and

Cut -- continued here. as the POV is inside the darkened cupboard! She pulls back and pins up some netting, and clears a path for the detectives. "So many kids, I can't help him." She takes a stick of wood and props open the small window. The detectives look around, almost startled that a human being could live in this small box. Sato begins to wipe his face again.

"How was he before he left?"

"Let me see ... oh, yes, was that the day he left? ..." The camera pans right to her. "He didn't come to supper, so I peeked. He was sitting in the dark, holding his head and crying. I felt sort of scared."

Cut to close on Sato. He looks around and bends down. The camera remains where is head would have been, however, and is now close on Murakami, who was right behind Sato. He stares out for a moment, and then follows his boss to the floor (as does the camera). Sato examines a tin can. The camera moves to a box on the floor. Sato takes out some kind of folded up magazine, and then a crumpled piece of paper. He tries to smooth out the paper.

Cut to a medium shot. He puts his glasses on. Murakami examines the paper closely, as well. The camera moves in on them...

Dissolve to an ECU of the paper itself. Columns of writing, some of them crossed off and x-ed out. The score stops and as Sato begins to read the letter we hear the sound of rain:
"...'I can't sleep. I keep hearing the cat I threw away in the rain'." We hear the meowing of a cat. "...'It followed me in the rain. It would die in pain, anyway.'"

The camera now moves in on the Japanese script in near microscopic fashion -- very very close -- and pans down the columns as Sato continues to read the words:

"...'So I thought I'd kill it. I can still feel myself stepping on it. I'm as worthless as that wet cat. Anyway ...'"

Dissolve back to the two detectives, reading the note. The camera pulls back slightly --
POV outside the propped up window -- Sato hands the note to the woman, taking off his glasses...

"Your brother's handwriting? This Sakura Hotel?"

"Oh, yes, that hoodlum sounded like he's the manager there. I'm sure it's a lie." Murakami is already out the door. Sato:

"Thanks." He puts his hat on and ducks out the door. The woman bows and removes the window prop.

Cut to the outside of this shed. Murakami is carefully studying the note. Sato is exiting the shed. He observes Murakami for a moment, moves over to him, taps his shoulder, and moves on. Murakami follows...

Part Two

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