Monday, February 18, 2008

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

A detailed analysis of the above film. Part Two.

HORIZONTAL WIPE (to the right) #13

Inside the Sakura Hotel looking out the double doors. [Conveniently, I can identify the hotel by the backwards English letters. Here [**] also.] Sato and Murakami approach. Sato takes his hat off, looking around. They go up to the desk.

"Welcome."

Murakami: "Manager, please."

Manager: "I am."

"Know Sei?"

"Yes, a bellboy. What's he done now?"

Sato: "In trouble often?"

"He's a ladies man."

Sato: "Let's see Prince Charming."

Cut to a mirror in a bathroom, where Prince Charming is applying something to his eyebrows [yo dude, not a good look for you, okay?] Off-camera: "Police officers..."

He falls backwards, gradually regaining his composure. POV close between Murakami and Sato, on this young Romeo:

"Hello. Midori lodged a complaint? Excuse me, but she knew and spent money on me."

Sato: "It's not Midori."

Sei: "What? Is it Kaoru then?" Sato has a cigarette out. Sei offers his lighter. "Officer, she's..."

Sato grabs his hand examining the fancy lighter and Sei's ring. "Never mind them!" Sato backs him up against a wall. The camera pulls back.

"It's Yusa, your buddy, the cooper's brother." Sei stands at attention, silent. "The Army beat you often? Don't worry, we won't." Water is running in a tub. Sato look at it.

"Why not turn it off?" Sato turns to light his own cigarette as Sei turns off the spigots.
"Let's see..." begins Sato, while Murakami gets out his notebook...

"...your last meeting?"

The camera geometry is now Murakami on the left, medium depth, Sato in front center and Sei back on the right...

"Saturday night, the 11th. He was tight."

"Well-off?"

"Yes, had a new suit. White linen."

"White? Was he alone?"

Sei, laughing: "He's scared of girls."

Sato, curtly: "Not like you!" Returning to the questioning: "Stay the night?"

"Yeah."

"How'd he seem? Had money ... weren't you surprised?" He wipes his face. "You asked about it?"

"He wouldn't answer. He was very pale. What'd he do?" Sei has inched his way back to the foreground -- Sato walks him back to the wall again, putting on his glasses:

"You made him turn bad?"

"N-no, no. Who said that? I just ..."

"Just what?"

"We just took walks."

Sato removes the glasses again. "He's broke. What'd you gain?"

"We're friends." Sato examines his toiletries. Yuck.

"Don't lie! You wouldn't be friends without a tip. What did you get out of it?"

"He's quite a boy backstage at the Blue Bird Theater." He looks in the mirror and fixes his hair.

"Girls again? Then you used." [Sato says a LOT of words here. It's gotta be more than the subtitles indicate. He turns on the shower faucet for a moment.

Sei: "Yes."

"But how'd that penniless...?"

"...A line dancer named Harumi is his old friend." Sato tips his cap, as does Murakami. They begin to leave. Sei seems relieved. "Any more questions?" We see his expression change to fear, as he begins to back up and then we see Sato chasing him back against that back wall again.

"The delinquent officer will come." Sei takes out a handkerchief and begins to fan himself.

HORIZONTAL WIPE (to the right) #14

Girls dancing on a stage. The camera pans to the left.

Cut to a view from floor level, behind some patrons.

Cut to a view from behind the chorus line looking out at the (rather large) audience.

Cut to a frontal view -- except the girls have all turned around and are wiggling their asses around!

Cut to a very long shot from the back of the hall.

Cut to a close up on a customer, slurping a popsicle, eyes focused on the dancers. Murakami is on his left and Sato on his right. Sato taps him on the shoulder. "Harumi Namiki?"

The man nods towards the stage. "2nd from left."

Cut to the stage, looking up slightly. The dancers are lined up in two (vertical) columns. The camera follows the left column as it moves forward and the girls form a horizontal line. The camera stays with Harumi. Cut back to the man with the popsicle. Sato and Murakami are pressing on him to get a good look at the girl, and he is annoyed. Cut back to Harumi and the woman dancing next to her.

Cut to a close-up of Harumi...

Dissolve to the dancers climbing up a wooden staircase. The camera rises and pulls back and sideways as the girls pour into their dressing room. As each girl enters the room, she plops herself down somewhere -- until we see a roomful of hot, sweaty and exhausted girls. We hear the band warming up, along with the sound of the girls' heavy breathing...

Cut to a closer shot of a group of girls -- one girl is fanning herself...

Cut to another close-up of other girls -- all sprawled out, wiping away sweat.

Cut to another -- heads and legs;

Cut to two girls, one on her stomach, fanning herself; the other on her back;

Cut to another group, leaning against their make-up tables, fanning themselves;

Cut to a close-up on one girl, sweating profusely. She moves her hair off her neck;

Cut to another;

And another, fanning herself;

Another, wiping the sweat from her neck;

Four more;

Then on the back of a girl's head. She is fanning herself; she lifts her hair off of her neck.
Off camera a voice:

"Why were you out yesterday?" She turns her head -- we see it is Harumi (Keiko Awaji).

Cut to the neatly-dressed man standing at the top of the staircase, talking to her, POV behind Harumi, taking in both:

"I wasn't well..."

"No one is in this heat," he says, wiping his hands. "The police want to see you," he adds, nonchalantly. All the girls around her suddenly sit up and stare.

Cut to a close-up on this man: "Acting innocent, but who knows!" He turns to leave;

Cut to close on her. She stands up and walks out (towards the camera)...

Cut to the bottom of the staircase. A dancer walks by. We see Sato and Murakami at the rear of the stairs. Murakami is fanning himself. He is looking up as Harumi descends. She looks left and right. The band passes her by. The camera lingers on the band members walking by.

Cut to an angle behind Sato. She turns towards him..

"Miss Namiki?" He walks up towards her.

Cut to a close-up of her, through a netting with flowers on it. She lifts up the netting and ducks under it.

Cut to a longer shot with her in the middle, Murakami left and Sato right.

Sato: "Do you know Yusa?"

Close on her left foot, shuffling between Murakami's white shoes and Sato's dark ones.

Cut back to upper body-level. "Yes."

"Childhood friends?"

"Childhood friends?" perhaps not understanding...

"Friends as children?"

"We were neighbors for about half a year, that's all."

"It's better to be honest."

Looking right at Sato: "I'm not lying!" A loud bell rings. The detectives look up. The dancers are all coming down the stairs. Sato wipes his face again. The bell stops, the band begins.

Close cut on Sato from behind. He turns to the camera and lifts his hat slightly up and down off his head for a moment. He is sweating profusely. "Never mind, then. What's between you two now?"

"Between us?" she responds, head bowed.

Sato: "Like ... sweethearts?"

"No, we're not."

"Just a fan?" He wipes his face again.

"No, he isn't."

"Then what? He comes nearly every day?"

Harumi, looking up: "I can't drive out a man I know!"

"I didn't ask that," wiping his face again. He gives Murakami a look. "When you'd see him last?" Pause. "You."

"I'm thinking"

Close on her. "Thinking? You ... what's the matter?" She looks up.

"I haven't done anything wrong!" She puts her hands on her face and begins to cry, bending down. After she leaves the frame, at the very end of this shot, the flowers from the netting are visible for a few frames...

Cut to the medium shot as she squats down on the floor, crying, between the legs of the detectives. Murakami holds a fan and Sato, his handkerchief. Suddenly, the other dancers begin to circle the three, standing there. Sato gives Murakami a look. Murakami tugs at his collar and Sato wipes his face.

HORIZONTAL WIPE (to the right) #15

People walking in front of a telephone booth. We can see Sato's head in the booth, while Murakami wipes his neck and face. Sato comes out of the booth, wiping his face.
"I reported in." He wipes his arms and the back of his neck. "I'm tired." He takes his coat from Murakami. "The rest tomorrow..."

"Then, I'll ..."

"No come with me to one more place..."

HORIZONTAL WIPE (to the right) #16

Murakami and Sato are walking along, in medium close-up. Sato wipes his forehead.

"Why did the girl cry?" wonders Murakami.

Sato, taking off his hat: "She was tired. And so were we." He wipes his forehead again. "I handled it badly. I lose patience when I'm tired." The hat goes back on. He sighs. "Asking questions is very difficult." Murakami tugs at his collar a few times...

Sato: "We're apt to lose against an old hand."

Murakami: "I'd like to question her again tomorrow."

Sato, patting down the back of his neck: "Fine. But getting her to talk seems unlikely. Sensitive girls like her are very stubborn. Rubbed the wrong way she clams up."
Murakami looks around. "Where are we going?" Sato laughs.

HORIZONTAL WIPE (to the right) #17

Longer shot of Murakami and Sato walking -- in the background is only forest. [I'm guessing this section of suburban Tokyo is probably pretty well developed by this point!].

Sato, opening a little gate: "Hoy..."

The sound of children's voices: "Back?"

Three little children are hugging him. "You make me hot. Say 'hello' to him." The children bow politely to Murakami who bows back.

To Sato: "I thought it work!"

Sato: "Come on in." His wife comes into the scene from the right. Sato introduces Murakami.

Wife: "It's nice of you to come. Please come in." The children and wife gather up their things and everyone goes inside.

Cut to the inside. Sato is hanging up his coat. "I remembered our ration of beer."

Murakami is looking up at the framed citations on the wall. "So many citations?"

Close on one of them. The camera begins to pan left.

"Got them by doing leg work."

Cut to the longer view, from behind. "First pay: 13-1/2 yen ... in 25 years, how many shoes did I wear out?"

"Each has memories?"

"Yes. Many things happened." His wife has discretely called him into the area behind a partition (kitchen?). We see him leaning over, and when he turns around, he is smiling.

To Murakami: "...Look ... nothing much in the house. We'll make do with squash." He picks up a table and moves it.

Close on the table. A child's wooden hobby horse and a car.

Nice dissolve to (the same?) table -- bottles (beer?), glasses, dishes. The camera pulls back. Sato on the left, his back turned; Murakami on the right, sitting, knees tucked in, in profile.

Sato: "My home's not much, but Yusa's place is terrible, isn't it? It's no place for people.
Dirt breeds evil?"

Cut to a POV over Sato's right shoulder on Murakami:

Murakami: " ...'There are no bad people in the world, only bad environment.' I've heard
that. In a way, I'm sorry for Yusa."

Reverse angle on Sato's reaction.

Cut to the original, medium shot. This is a very long take (nearly two minutes). Near the beginning of this shot, you can see two people walking in the distant, black background. The sound of frogs croaking...

Sato: "No, no, we can't afford to think like that. We get that idea chasing criminals. Don't forget the many lambs hurt by one wolf. [I understand that there are NO wolves left in Japan, by the way...] Half of those men I arrested later condemned. We must remember we guard society." He fans himself. "Let writers analyze the convict's mind. I simply hate them. Evil is still evil!"

Murakami: "I can't think that way yet. During the war, I saw men turn bad very easily."

Sato: "Is it the difference in our ages or the changing times? They call it something or other. Ap ... Apre ..."

Murakami: "Après guerre?"

Sato: "Yes, yes, the post war generation. You and Yusa. You understand him too well."

"Perhaps so." He pauses. "My knapsack and money were stolen too!"

"Oh?"

"I felt outraged. I could've stolen in cold blood then. But thinking I was at a dangerous point ... I chose this work."

"Hmm ... so that's it? It's that .. ap, apre ..."

"Après guerre."

"Yes -- two kinds. Like you and Yusa. Your's genuine. Yusa's an apres (looking in the direction of the croaking frogs [I believe there is a Japanese pun about the frogs]) toad ... no, a bad apple!" They both laugh.

Cut to a new angle, over Sato's left shoulder. Murakami is smiling broadly. But he quickly turns serious, and straightens up his tie. "Tomorrow?."

Cut reverse angle: "Be patient."

Cut back. "I can't [help] thinking that when his money's gone..."

Sato: "Hmm. He spent half on a suit."

"A week's gone by."

"Yes. 6,000 yen a day. We could live a month on it." Sato grunts a few times. He is falling asleep sitting up.

Cut to a medium profile shot.

Murakami: "I'll be going."

"Are you? Tomi. Tomi!" He has his handkerchief out again, wiping away the sweat. "The guest's leaving! Say, Tomi!"

She comes out. "The children..."

Sato: "...Asleep?" He peers in. To Murakami: "Take a look!" Murakami moves in.

Cut to a close-up on a young boy, lying on his stomach, grasping a comic book. The camera pans left to the other children and up to the parents and Murakami. The grown-ups are all smiles.

Sato: "Like a pumpkin field." Fade to black.

Up on an open gate. We see a tricycle. Delicate Mozart-type piano music.

Cut to a bed of flowers

Another cut to more flowers

Cut to a road. The piano music is drowned out by the sound of a jeep, two large cars and a truck lumbering down the road, kicking up dust.

Dissolve to a group of people, standing around. Two policemen stand guard at the head of a path. A man walks to an area between the two policemen. The following dialogue is spoken by characters we do not see, specifically:

"An armed robber?" A bicyclist comes into the frame from the left and stops to look.

"Yes. She was the prettiest woman in the neighborhood..."

Cut to two women, speaking with a policeman.

Cut to three men and a policeman. "...so loving a couple maids wouldn't stay..."

Cut to a man dressed in white, with a small dog on a leash. Children and another policeman nearby.

"...He returned from a trip this morning..."

Cut to very young children, looking on through the spread out legs of one of the policemen standing guard. "...We never can tell what'll happen next."

Cut to a mother holding her baby. Close-up on her.

Cut to another crowd, from behind...

"...where the crape myrtles are. They bring bad luck."

Cut to these flowers, in bloom on a tree. Cut to an open window, the curtains fluttering in the wind.

Cut to a police technician, taking prints and evidence. Cut to a section of the house. We can tell that a flash from a camera goes off several times. Cut to more policemen, studying the scene.

Cut to a man in a white coat, with a stethoscope around his neck (coroner?) to an older man -- "You shouldn't have moved the body." He bows.

"She hated to show her body even to me, the family doctor! I thought she wouldn't want to be seen like that." Several more flashes go off. "Knew her from about so high."

Cut to Murakami and Sato. "Was it my Colt again?"

"What if it was?" Sato walks away, leaving Murakami, looking upset.

Cut to a man in a white suit, sitting, some flowers behind him, his white hat on the floor beside him. Cut to a closer frontal shot. Suddenly he rises and shoots out the door.
Cut to a shot of him exiting and a longer shot of him pulling up tomato plants. He violently throws them back to the ground after pulling them up. Murakami and other policemen have gathered at the door, watching him. "What's the matter?" one of them yells.

Cut to the man, framed from the camera's POV behind Sato and Murakami's backs. He turns, a tomato plant still in his hands. "My wife ... she raised these tomatoes! They were green when I left! They're all ripe now! But now she's gone." He turns and stares at the detectives: "How could this happen? To steal ... only 50,000 yen."

Reverse angle -- Murakami, Sato, Inspector Nakajima and another.

Cut to a close-up on Murakami and Sato.

The camera pulls back to just behind the man. He has pulled a tomato off the stalk and holds it in his hand: "Think I can watch them day and night?" He throws the vegetable to the ground and collapses there himself, sobbing.

Cut to a close-up of Murakami watching this, pained.

Cut back to the man; back to Murakami -- his gaze goes to

Close-up on the squashed tomato on the ground. Cut to Murakami, grimacing. Back to the squashed tomato.

HORIZONTAL WIPE (to the left) #12

A Map on a blackboard: "Map of vicinity of Yodobashi murder site" The map is a bird's-eye drawing of all the houses and streets -- quite detailed. The camera pans to the left. Several smaller drawings further detail the crime. The pan final stops on Murakami pacing back and forth, tugging at his collar.

Cut to a new POV. Two detectives and Inspector Nakajima are in the foregoing, sitting at a desk with an electric fan blazing away. Murakami paces in the background. Nakajima and one of the other detectives look back at Murakami and towards each other.

Slow pan to the right. Ten or 15 other detectives sit silently. The pan stops on Sato. He has his handkerchief/towel around his neck. He swats a bug on the table in front of him, grabs his rag and wipes his face. The camera continues the pan until it stops behind another electric fan -- Murakami suddenly has something in mind. He approaches Sato.

"I suppose that..."

"Suppositions confuse. We want only facts." Murakami returns to his pacing area. The phone rings.

Cut to the original POV. Nakajima answers the phone. "Yes. Hello, this is Nakajima.
Identification Section? Yes, yes ... thank you."

Murakami, over his shoulder, freaked:

"It's my bullet again, sir?"

"No, it's Yusa's." Ten cops spring up from their chairs and leave. From right to left, Sato,
Murakami, Nakajima and another detective remain. Murakami sits down and throws his head into his heads, visibly upset. Sato rises, grabbing his coat and Murakami's. He walks over to him.

Cut to a closer side shot. Sato, standing over Murakami: "Let's go. It's no time to be lost in thought. We have to catch Yusa. He has 5 bullets left."

"...[S]uspense is engendered by a device similar to that used in One Wonderful Sunday. Just as the sum of thirty-five yen is the chronological link which determines our interest (how far are they from nothing?) so, in this film, the number of bullets left keep up the suspense. There were seven originally, Murakami used one in target-practice, then one was used in the murder, two were used on Sato. How many are left for Murakami during the confrontation?" [DR, p. 64].

At this Murakami rises quickly, Sato hands him his coat and they leave. The camera remains on the empty room for a few frames.

Cut to the outside of the office. Murakami then Sato exiting. The press crowds around.
Sato walks ahead. "Any news?"

"Where to?"

"Where? Home, a drink, bed." We know he is lying even if the press doesn't! He is fanning himself.

"Then why go together?"

"Let us through. It's hot!"

"Star suspect?"

"Too cloudy to see."

HORIZONTAL WIPE (to the right) #18

Murakami and Sato on a train, standing holding onto straps. Sato peers out a window.
"Coming, tonight."

"What? Who?"

"Who? I meant a rain shower!" Murakami plays with his collar again.

Sato: "An officer all nerves is no help."

"I'm about to break down!"

"Looks like you already have."

Cut to the window at the front of the train, looking straight ahead. Sato moves to it and Murakami joins him. The track lies ahead in the center.

Sato: "Good time for a showdown! Killers are like mad dogs. Do you know how a mad dog acts? There's a verse about it. 'Mad dogs see only what they're after.' Yusa's that way now. He loves Harumi. He sees only her." He turns back to Murakami. "He'll see her!"

Cut to a view out the window with no humans in the frame. Ten seconds. Very nice. At the very end of this cut, the music changes from the sound of the train to the sound of the band warming up...

Cut to a neon sign, blinking on and off: "Blue Bird" -- two sculptured birds sit atop the sign, kissing. In the back, is a massive black cloud.

Cut to inside the club. A mesh netting. The camera pans down. Two dancers are doing something on the floor, one of them fans herself. A young man (Minoru Chiaki in his first AK role!) holding a rag and a piece of paper shuffles into the scene. He sticks the rag in his shirt, turns on and grabs an electric fan sitting on a counter and walks over to the detectives.

"The manager's out. I'm the design man." He shows them the card, tucks it away, and plops himself down in a chair, with the fan pointing and blowing in his face. Off-camera, Sato's voice:

"Can we see Miss Namiki?"

"She's out today. She's a problem. Scold her a little and she won't come. The quiet kind's the touchiest."

Cut to the detectives -- Sato gives Murakami a look.

Cut back to the kid. "And she's not up to par."

Cut to the detectives -- Sato: "Ill?"

Kid: "Yes, those monthly things -- she always makes trouble then." He pulls back his hair in two cuts -- this new one being from behind the mesh, looking out at the three.

Sato: "Her address?"

Kid: "Koenji, I believe." Murakami gets out his notebook. "She's a mama's girl." The kid gets up and leaves. The detectives look at each other. Murakami goes after him. Sato also rises.

HORIZONTAL WIPE (to the left) #13

A diamond-shaped window on a door. A woman is peering through the window. She opens the door. Harumi sits in the background, behind her. The detectives introduce themselves.

Cut to Harumi, turning her head.

Sato: "May we see your daughter?"

Cut to a new POV behind Harumi -- we can see all four figures. The mother makes the room presentable.

Sato: "This will do." The mother quickly moves to make tea. When Sato sees this he says, "Don't bother." She ignores him.

Cut to Harumi, fanning herself with a handkerchief.

Cut to the detectives. Sato wipes his forehead. He looks at Murakami, who is fidgeting with his collar again.

Cut to a close-up on Sato, preparing to light a cigarette.

Close-up of table. Ashtray, cigarette pack, matches and some glasses on a tray.
Cut back to Sato, eyeing the table. "A match, please." The mother is reaching for them at the same time that Sato gets to them and grabs the box of matches. He takes out a match, studying the box. He turns to the mother:

"Looks like rain."

Murakami, to Harumi: "We'd like to ask you a question."

Harumi: "I don't know anything about Yusa! I hate nosey cops!"

Her mother yells at her. "Really, she's..."

"Be quiet, mother! It's our right not to talk!"

Cut to Murakami: "Your right to shield a suspected murders [murderer?]?"

Cut close on Harumi, close then back, taking in all four. "But I don't know."

Mother: "Don't lie! He just left!" Murakami stands.

Sato, holding up the box of matches: "Yusa brought this?"

Mother: "Yes, he did." To Harumi: "You said you hated him to hang around!"

Sato: "Know where he is?"

Mother: "Tell him! Tell him! Tell them all you know!"

Harumi, rising: "I don't know!"

Mother, coming over to Harumi: "You really don't? How dare you lie! Harumi!"

Cut to the detectives, watching this. "Harumi! Harumi, answer me! Why don't you speak? Tell them!" Sato taps Murakami on the shoulder and they quietly leave.

Cut to outside the door. People are milling about, presumably eavesdropping. Sato scatters them all with a few glances. He takes his rag out and wipes his face and neck. He turns to Murakami. "Our chance. No time for willful girls. I'll follow up this hotel lead."
"And I...?"

"You stay a bit longer. Mothers make good prosecutors. Phone below? I'll call you."
Of interest are the props resting on top of the banister by the staircase. Children's toys: a little doll in a small watering can, a rubber duckie and a drum.

Sato: "Got a pistol?"

Murakami: "Yes."

Sato: "I left mine." Murakami is trying to quickly take the holster off his belt. "Never mind the case." He hands Sato the gun. "Yusa just left. He won't come again."

Sato sees the toys on the banister. [A good detective. He doesn't miss a thing.] He playfully takes the doll out of the watering can and puts it down beside the can as he leaves! Murakami watches him leave.

Cut to inside the room. Murakami re-enters. Mother's voice, off-camera:

"Can't you even be honest with me?" Murakami enters quietly.

Cut to a new POV -- lateral to the mother and daughter in the left and right foreground, Murakami in the center back. The mother continues:

"It's my fault. You haven't a father, so I spoilt you. All right, make a fool out of me!" She starts to cry. Both Harumi and Murakami look away.

Cut to Sato, wiping his neck. He is standing at a desk before a woman in a western dress. A large electric fan is pointed at her face.

Sato: "He's 27 or 8 wearing a white linen suit." She reaches for the register. He slaps at the fan, turning on the button which causes the fan to rotate, so he can get cool, as well. She hands him the register and sits. She looks tired. She wipes her neck.

"He'd use an alias." He puts on his glasses. He chuckles.

Close up on the characters in the register. "Harou Namiki? I see."

Cut back to the lateral shot. He taps his glasses on the register. "This one." She studies his selection and thinks:

"Oh, him?" Sato is writing something down. "Stayed upstairs. I never saw him sober. No friends, just drank in a melancholy way. He suddenly left the day before yesterday in a car."

Sato: "Taxi company?"

"The Heiwa ... where the street cars run. Matsu took him, I think."

Sato: "Thanks." And he's off.

She is surprised at his sudden departure -- she looks after him (we see him leaving in a mirror) -- "What is he?"

"A mad dog!" Sato shouts back...

Cut to Harumi (middle left), Murakami (center foreground) and mother (middle right). A long silence -- about 20 seconds -- everyone is still, heads bowed. Suddenly Harumi lifts her head up and

Cut, close on her and her mother: "How long are you going to make us trouble?"

Cut back to the first shot; Murakami: "You are!"

"I'm not! I don't know what he did, but he was nice to me! He came backstage and watched me with such sad eyes. I can't help you arrest him!"

Murakami turns to her: "You're hiding his address?"

"Maybe I am. You can catch him, but I won't help you!"

Cut close on Murakami. Close on Harumi. Close on her hands, clutching her handkerchief.
She balls it up in her hands and stands up. Cut close on Murakami again.

Cut to a longer shot -- she is opening a curtain to a closet. She pulls out a box. "I'm returning this -- now go!" She pushes the box towards him, and

Cut close -- the contents fall out -- a fancy dress...

Cut to Sato, sitting on an oil drum in a garage. The geometry is typical. A large black car in the rear -- a man is washing it. He is perfectly centered between the middle depth of the taxi man and Sato.

Taxi man: "Wanted for robbery and murder? No wonder he gave me a big tip." Sato is fanning himself.

"Where'd you take him?"

"To a restaurant."

"Thanks!" He gets up and leaves.

Cut to Sato, walking, wiping his face as he walks. He looks up...

Cut to a street light and the sky, filled with foreboding, dark clouds. The camera continues to dolly along, holding this POV for a few seconds.

Cut to the scene in Harumi's apartment again. The dress lies on the floor.

Cut to the mother, looking at the dress with disgust. "When did you get this?" Cut to
Murakami [why? it's not his dress!] He glances at her. Cut to her. "From him. We saw it in a show window together. So pretty, I said. I'd like to wear it once. He looked at me so
sadly. Then a week later, he brought it."

Cut to mother: "Harumi, then you..."

"Yes, he committed a crime for me! If I'd the courage, maybe I'd have done the same! A crime to display it! We'd have to do worse things to buy it!"

Cut to mother, near tears again: "Harumi!"

Cut to Harumi, silent for a few beats. "It's because his knapsack was stolen."

Cut to Murakami: "Yusa said so?"

Cut to her: "Yes."

"He's not the only one! I had mine stolen too!" Cut to her; back to him; back to her.
Cut to the two, frame left and right. Him: "Times are very bad! But that's no excuse to do wrong!"

Harumi: "Bad people eat good food, dress well. They're the winners."

"You really think so? Why not do the same? Wear the dress!" He nods towards the garment -- "Wear it! Why don't you wear it?" In only three frames at the end of this shot, we see her reaching for the dress.

Cut to a close-up on the dress. It is snatched from the floor and the camera remains fixed on the now empty space on the floor!

Before the next cut, a comment about the whole yakuza/postwar thing AK is hammering away at in these first few postwar films. AK speaks about his relationship with Keinosuke Uekusa, a friend since grammar-school days, who collaborated with AK on the scripts for One Wonderful Sunday and Drunken Angel:

"...[E]verything [did not go] smoothly between Uekusa and me ... Perhaps...in the course of associating with our gangster role-model [for Drunken Angel] in order to study him, [he] became too deeply involved with him. Perhaps he was simply overcome by his natural feeling of sympathy for the weak, the wounded and those who live in the shadows of life. In any event, he began to object to my attitude of opposition to the yakuza system. [His] argument [was that the] failures and perversions in the yakuza personality were not the sole responsibility of the individual. But even if the society that gave birth to them must assume a part, or even the greater share, of the responsibility for the existence of the yakuza, I still can't approve of their behavior. In the very same human society that gave birth to such evil, there are also good people who are living honest, decent lives [as Murakami points out above...]" [AK, p. 158].

This seems to ring through as a major theme, perhaps nearly continuously in one form or another, throughout the remainder of the oeuvre. In particular, the multiple mentions of the stolen knapsacks of both criminal and cop seem to emphasize this thematic strain.

Cut to Sato, at a geisha house -- The woman who apparently runs the place is fanning Sato. "Hard work in this heat, isn't it?" Two young geishas on the right are playing with small sparkler fireworks. Another young woman arrives with a tray. The older woman hands passes it to Sato: "Here."

Sato smells it. "Saké?"

Close on the woman: "To help you forget the heat." She breaks out laughing.

The camera pulls back to reveal all five. "Thanks." He takes a sip. "What did he do?"

"He came late at night and left very early, so I don't know..."

"The geisha?"

"Well ... oh, yes, she went out to the road with him."

"Her name?"

"Kintaro from Wakehisamatsu." To the young girl who brought the saké: "Wasn't it?"

"Yes, but she's out. I phoned."

Sato: "Popular? Check and see where she is."

One of the two geishas playing with the sparklers: "Kintaro's at a party."

Lady: "Where?"

Girl: "Musashi Restaurant." At that moment, we hear a loud peal of thunder! The woman and the geishas cover their ears; Sato looks up towards the sky...

Cut to Harumi's legs. She is wearing the dress and twirling around and around. Cut to a longer angle; cut to knee level -- "I'm happy!" -- we can see Murakami watching her in this shot...

Cut to a medium close shot, thighs up. Still spinning: "I'm so happy!"

Cut to Murakami, her shadow spinning patterns against him and the wall...

Close cut on her, spinning;

Cut to leg level again -- this time mother is in the shot. "It's like a dream!" We see mother getting up. We also see a flash of light (lightning)...

Cut to a longer shot -- mother is slapping Harumi, spins her around and, from the back, pulls the dress down and off of her body. She throws it on the window sill. She stands rigid, breathing heavily. Harumi, clad only in her slip, grabs her mother by the legs and breaks down crying:

"Mother!" Cut close to the dress on the sill. Cut close on Harumi, crying and holding her mother's legs. Cut to Murakami, staring...

Nice cut to a POV outside in the rain, looking in the window on the scene inside. The rain is pouring down -- a perfect metaphoric companion to the relief felt inside the room of this apartment -- Harumi continues to cry hysterically...

Cut to Sato, standing by some cars under cover, out of the rain. He is shaking the rain off of his hat. He wipes his forehead. Some geishas walk by. Sato approaches a geisha in a striped kimono and asks:

"Kintaro?"

"Yes, I am." She is fanning herself.

"No axe like the story-book Kintaro?" A man sitting nearby laughs at his joke, but she does not. She looks at the man sternly, turns and continues fanning herself.

"So wet, I made a joke."

[Here's what one of my Japanese correspondents tells me about Kintaro:

"Kintaro is a well-known old tale, and almost every child knows from a picture book. The main character Kintaro is a chubby strong boy with an axe, living in a forest. He even wrestles with a bear and becomes a friend of the bear!" He included a little cartoon for me to show you:]


Sato gets down to business. "The Kogetsu guest 2 days ago..."

"Day before yesterday?" She remembers. "Oh ... I hate that kind."

"Why?" He sits.

"So gloomy." She pauses. "What'd he do?" Sato wipes his forehead, ignoring her question.

"See him to the street car line?"

"You know already?"

"Where'd he go?"

"Where...?"

"To a hotel?"

"You saw?"

[Even with the difficulty inherent in Japanese to English translations, I think Kurosawa does a superb job of showing us the general tone of the relationship between old-school, prewar cops like Sato, and some of the young people he has to question, flush with their new-found "human rights" -- both Harumi and this girl are openly antagonistic to the police, and he must be patient with them. At the same time, as we noted above, Kurosawa was truly engaged in a contemporary controversy about the yakuza element, its relationship to the people who struggle honestly in the postwar disaster (One Wonderful Sunday); and to the cops (in this film) who must navigate through their territory to nab the criminal...

Perhaps Kurosawa was giving us a peek into the future of the apparent "marriage of convenience" between yakuza, police and politicians, which I believe exists in modern-day Japan. He certainly explored the idea further in High and Low -- but here, the relationship between the young, "apres-guerre" cop (Murakami) and criminal is made more potent by scenes such as this one with Sato and Kintaro.]

Sato: "How about it?"

Kintaro: "To the Yayoi Hotel in Kanda. Long ago, I..." She sits down, and is now ready to talk, it seems. But Sato is out of there quickly. Their eyes follow him until

Cut to outside, the rain coming down hard. Sato dashes out into the rain...

Cut to the window sill in Harumi's apartment. Two glasses which hold fish are on either side. The rain pours down.

Cut to a pulled back shot, looking out the same window, but the camera is in front of Murakami, his head bowed down, and Harumi, in a different kimono, her mother tucking it all in...

"You fool."

Cut to a close on Harumi and the mother, leg level, looking up. To Murakami: "I'll make her talk."

Murakami, still facing away from them: "I was too direct. In this case ... Yusa's pistol is the one I had stolen. I wasn't careful enough."

Cut to mother and Harumi, reacting.

Cut back to him. Long pause. "He shot two people with it. One was killed." Cut to the women's reaction shot then back to him: "And I feel on edge as if something's going to happen."

[**]
Cut to lobby of the Yayoi Hotel, sign in English, backwards in this POV. We see the rainstorm outside and Sato come in. He is soaked. He shakes himself off a little and proceeds to

Cut to Sato walking up to the desk. Thunder peals. The manager, who had been sitting on a couch, behind Sato, comes over to his side. "Good evening. Wet out."

Sato flashes his ID. "Police. Is Haruo Namiki here?"

"Yes. Room 6 upstairs." A woman near the couch holds a baby who is crying softly.

"The phone?"

The manager motions towards it. "There."

Sato doesn't have a dry cigarette; the manager offers him one. He strikes a match -- Sato takes the match from him and lights it himself. "Don't say I'm here." The man nods. Sato looks towards the doors. "Only way out?"

The man nods towards the rear. "A door in back."

"The key?"

"Open yet."

"Lock it." He goes to do so. Sato goes to the phone, in a booth with a door. Sato is closing the door behind him when

Cut to a new POV -- next to the staircase. Mother is holding the crying baby and the manager is walking over...

"Make him stop bawling!"

"But..."

"A rich guest, and a cop has to come!" He leaves.

Mother, trying to calm the baby, walks around the stairs to the other side. "Oh, stop it! You're a boy!" she explains, bouncing the boy slightly in her arms. "See that big man?" she makes a motion towards the phone booth..."He's an officer." We now see a pair of legs, white pants, coming down the stairs. Although the woman and baby are now out of the frame, we still hear her, as the man does, who has stopped in his tracks on the step right in front of the camera:

"Behave, or he'll put you in jail." The camera slowly pans to the right, on the phone booth.
Cut close on Sato in the booth, from behind. A loud peal of thunder. "Yes, yes, yes! Take emergency measures at once!" Cut to a profile shot, still from outside the booth. He picks up his cigarette and takes a little book out of his pocket. He puts the book on the shelf next to the phone and dials a number.

Cut to a man (Kokuten Kodo), sitting at a table with a large bottle on it, POV from behind a reed screen. A telephone is on the wall on the right. It is ringing. Several people walk right to left in front of the camera. The man seems to finally notice the ringing. He takes another drink and slowly moves to the phone. He takes a cloth off of his head.

"Hello? Yes, yes, it is." He has trouble understanding Sato.

Cut to an ECU of Sato on the phone. "Call Murakami. What?" Thunder and lightning.
"Can't you hear me? Mu-ra-ka-mi." He repeats it again that way, louder. "In Harumi's room."

Close cut to the man. "Oh, Miss Harumi Namiki? Hai." He puts the phone down and walks away.

We can hear Sato yelling through the receiver: "Hello, hello! Not Miss Namiki! Murakami!"

Cut back to Sato. "Hello! Murakami!"

Cut to the man opening the apartment door. It is open and he says: "Phone, Harumi."
Cut close on Murakami, reaction. Cut to Harumi and mother; back to Murakami -- he turns quickly and looks at her. Harumi's eyes move towards her mother, she lowers them and stands up. Murakami stands. His eyes follow her...

Cut to outside the door. Harumi, Murakami and the mother...

Cut to a longer POV. Murakami: "If it's from Yusa...?"

Mother: "If it's from him?"

Harumi: "What'll I say?" [the children's toys are still lined up on the banister, just as Sato left them!]

Cut to phone receiver. We can hear Sato yelling.

Cut to Sato. He waits.

Cut to a POV behind the desk. The manager's wife is turning on the radio. South American Postwar music. She begins to sway to the music. Sato is turned towards the desk, looking out while he's on hold. The husband/manager joins the wife. He puts his arm around her. They turn and face the camera. He is fondling her cheek as they sway. She looks back at Sato, and deciding she doesn't want to be pawed in front of him, she slaps her husband's hand. He looks back at Sato. They continue to sway. He admires his fingernails.

Cut close on Sato, disgusted. He turns his back. [This is extremely important, because otherwise he would have seen the killer coming.]

Cut to the white pants legs coming down the stairs.

Cut to the open receiver at Harumi's. We can hear the radio music over the line. [This is perfectly edited. The music transitions seamlessly from the hotel to the phone line.]
Cut to Murakami, mother and Harumi, staring at the receiver. Harumi gives Murakami a look and advances slowly on the phone. The man sits in the background, drinking. Finally, Harumi picks up the receiver.

"Hello, this is Harumi. What? Officer Sato?" The man is wiping his bald head in the background.

Cut to Sato, from outside the booth. The following can really only be seen by a frame-by-frame examination. Sato sees the man in the white suit. We know this because (1) we can see his reflection in the glass of the phone booth and (2) Sato reacts -- he bursts out from the booth -- at the end of the shot, the camera is on the empty booth, the receiver of this phone, now hanging down, still open...

Cut to Harumi. She looks confused. Murakami grabs the receiver. We hear two pops from their end of the line.

"Officer Sato! Hello! Officer Sato!" Murakami sets the receiver down. The camera moves in on it, while we hear the music playing from the radio through the line. Murakami now screams at Harumi:

"Yusa's hotel...?" She still hesitates, her hand clenched against her cheek...

Cut to the empty phone booth. [Again the transition of the music from Harumi's phone to the "live" sound at the hotel is perfect.]

Cut to a new person in a long, dark kimono (their son?), the wife and husband, staring at something.

Cut to an outside shot. The rain is still coming down hard. Sato lies slumped on the ground between the two open doors of the hotel. He is moving, but just barely. He has a gun in his hand. The three just stand there, looking down at him. The left door begins to close. Sato lies in the open area at the right doorway.

HORIZONTAL WIPE (to the left) #14

The music stops. A mesh screen of some sort outside some open windows. The rain is dripping off the screen, but it looks as if the downpour has stopped.
Cut to a hallway, obviously just inside the open windows we saw in the previous shot. Two nurses are walking away from the camera. Three or four men sit on a long couch and three other men stand beside the couch.

A door opens and a nurse is coming out. The opening of the door got the attention of all the men.

Cut to a close on the nurse, finishing the action begun in the previous shot. Murakami exits behind her, his left shirtsleeve rolled up. He seems reluctant to leave the room.
Nurse: "You must rest."

Murakami, pulling away: "Leave me alone!" She gently pushes him away, and returns inside the room, leaving him staring through the windows. He walks slowly towards the camera.

Cut to a longer shot. The other detectives are looking at him.

Inspector Nakajima walks over to him: "How many grams?"

"I don't know." Nakajima walks back towards the bench. Murakami runs after him:

"Please tell me! Was it the bullet from my Colt again?" Nakajima doesn't answer him, he just takes his seat. Murakami approaches another seated detective: "Please tell me!" He tries another:

"Officer Kose!" Kose turns away.

Murakami turns around and walks slowly towards the camera. Suddenly a nurse bolts out of the operating room door. She quickly moves out of the frame, walking down the hallway in the other direction. The detectives' eyes follow her.

Cut to the nurse, close-up. She is running back towards the room with a tray.

Cut to the long shot. Murakami runs over to the door.

Cut to floor level. Murakami grabs the handles of the door. He cries out:

"Please don't die, Officer Sato! I beg you! Officer Sato, please don't die!" Nakajima stands. Three other detectives go over to Murakami and help him up. He is still screaming: "Please get better and live!" He is hysterical, as they drag him away from the door. "Please live! Please don't die!" He is dragged away, out of frame left.

We hear his hysterical cries echoing back from the hallway. [Beautiful little touch.] The camera stays on the three remaining detectives on the couch.


Dissolve to the opening shot of this scene -- the mesh fence outside the hospital windows.
It is dark and there is not a trace of rain anywhere.

Dissolve to Murakami, his hands grasped behind his head, which is bowed. It is dark. We hear a woman's voice:

"Are you still here? He's out of danger now." Murakami raises his head slightly. Just as the light comes up, we

Dissolve to outside again;

Dissolve to Murakami, slumped, asleep. Again, a woman's voice: "Officer. Officer." This time it isn't a nurse. He looks up.

Cut to a longer shot. Harumi, nicely dressed in western clothes, stands before him. Cut back to Murakami, slumped, eyeing her. Cut to her, she bows her head. Cut to him. He begins to rise.

Finished in this longer shot from outside a glass door. He turns his back on her, walking towards this door, and he opens it. and walks out. Her eyes follow...

Cut to the original outside shot, from behind a mesh screen. We see Murakami, in silhouette, on this little porch outside the hospital. We hear the crow of a rooster, twice. [In addition, to the specific time which is mentioned in the next line of dialogue, Kurosawa gives us the "general" time with this filmic clue!]

She stands at the doorway. "He'll be at Ohara Station at 6." Murakami turns to face her. "He phoned me." Murakami looks at his watch. He bolts back inside the room. Harumi tries to grab him. In some very quick cuts,

Close on Murakami, Harumi behind him, trying to grab him. "I'll go too!"

Cut to POV from outside -- a six-paned window. He is disengaging himself from her grip. "No, there are three bullets left!" He runs down the hallway, which Kurosawa shows us from this outside shot -- panning past the windows in the hallway [we see him running] to the rightmost window, until he disappears out of shot.

Cut to Harumi, looking down the hallway.

HORIZONTAL WIPE (to the left) #15

This is one of Kurosawa's most ingenious wipes ever! The left side of the NEW image of this wipe, is the front of a trolley car, moving from right to left!!! The effect is magnificent!

A couple is waiting for the trolley to pass. They run over the tracks and out of frame to the left. Hold on the empty frame. We see several new people come into the frame -- and then Murakami dashes into the scene, looking around. He walks briskly towards the camera. As he approaches it, the camera leaves him and begins a rightward pan into the waiting room. People are reading, yawning, eating, sleeping. [Yusa (Ko Kimura) is the 3rd from the left, by the way!]

Cut to a longer shot, from outside some windows. We see Murakami standing in the middle of the room, trying to look around without being obvious.

[Kurosawa now gives over the narrator's role to Murakami! He whispers savagely]:

"It's my fault! Which is Yusa? Which is Yusa?" He takes out a cigarette. "Don't be hasty. Be calm." He takes a seat on the bench. "Be calm. Be calm." He lights the cigarette. The camera moves in on him. "28 ... a white linen suit ... " He looks around the room, eyes focused. "28 ... white linen suit..."

Cut to people fitting the description.

#1 -- resting his head on his hand. [Not him.]

#2 -- scratches his neck. [Not him.]

#3 -- white shirt, tan coat, sleeping. [Not him.]

#4 -- white hat, striped shirt, reading a newspaper. [Him!]

#5 -- dark glasses, reading a paper... [This man seems to look back at the camera, as though he sees Murakami looking at him!]

Murakami, as narrator, continuing: "...He may have changed his suit. Then...?"

He re-focuses. "A man about 28 years old. A man about 28 years old..."

Quick cutting again on the suspects:

#1 -- Man with a dark hat, talking to a woman next to him, smiling. [Not him.]

#2 -- #1 from above.

#3 -- #2 from above.

#4 -- the sleeping man. [Not him.]

#5 -- #3 from above.

#6 -- #4 from above. [Yusa.]

#7 -- A man with round glasses, reading.

#8 -- #5 from above. He looks at his watch.

"Calm down! Don't get excited!" He pulls back his hair. "Oh, yes, he ran off in the rain!" His mind is working hard. He is staring ahead at leg level as he thinks. "Dirty shoes. Dirty shoes. Dirty shoes." His gaze turns towards people's feet.

The camera follows, panning leftward: getas, boots, white shoes, etc. The Murakami-narrator continues to whisper loudly: "Dirty shoes. Dirty shoes. Dirty shoes." A new thought crosses his mind:

"Dirty trousers. Dirty trousers." Finally the leftward pan stops on Yusa's legs. His pants and shoes are heavily spattered with mud.

Cut to Murakami, staring. Cut back to Yusa's feet. We see them turning; Cut to Murakami; cut back to the feet, completing the turn. The camera now pans upward on Yusa's back. The pants are covered in mud, as is the back of the coat...

Cut to a POV outside this window -- Yusa close-up [the front of his coat is spotless!] and Murakami in the background. Cut to Murakami, his gaze fixed on Yusa. Cut to Yusa, turning around to sit down. Cut to Murakami, quickly lowering his head.

Cut to Yusa. He takes out a cigarette. He pulls a match out of the box. Cut close to the hand -- he strikes it with his left hand.

Cut to Murakami, startled -- "Left hand!" he whispers, as narrator only. But he stares straight ahead at Yusa. Cut to Yusa, lighting cigarette, looking up, almost as if he "heard" Murakami -- cut to Murakami -- cut to Yusa; the cigarette drops from his mouth as he realizes he is caught. He stands.

Cut to Murakami. He reaches for his pistol. "Officer Sato has my pistol!" whispers the narrator. [From this point, to the next line of dialogue is five minutes, 48 seconds.]

Cut to Yusa, standing. He runs out of the room. He trips over the chain which is fixed between the gate -- Murakami gracefully vaults over it.

Cut to a long shot of the railroad tracks. Yusa running. Murakami chasing him. A train squeezes by on the right.

Leaving the station area -- Yusa, Murakami behind him...

Cut to chase shot -- both men in the shot -- very rural now...

The chase continues down a thin, bicycle path in the early morning mist. The camera turns to follow the chase after they have both run past the camera...

Cut to further along the path, which is now on the far right of the frame. Thick foliage fills the rest. Yusa cuts across the frame when he reaches the camera position. Murakami follows. He trips and falls. He gets up. He stops.

Cut to a POV behind Murakami. Yusa is crouched down low in the foliage. He gets up, pointing the gun at Murakami.

Cut close on Yusa, holding the gun up, shakily, breathing heavily.

Cut close on Murakami, also breathing hard. Suddenly we hear a Mozart piano sonata!

Cut to a longer angle on Murakami, left; a house in the distance at center and Yusa appearing to be just to the right of the house.

Closer cut on the house, enveloped in the early morning mist. Cut back to the longer shot, the two men frozen in place.

Cut close on Yusa. His lips quiver, his eyes bug out and;

Cut, reverse angle -- he shoots!

Cut to the window of the house looking in -- we see the woman sitting at her piano. The music stops. She turns her head towards the window and walks over to it...

Cut to a POV behind her, inside the house looking out the window. Although we can see the men's white suits, it is possible Kurosawa is trying to tell us that she CANNOT see them, because

We cut back to the previous POV -- and she holds her hand up in front of her face, as if the sun were in her eyes. She walks back to the piano. She eyes the music and continues to play...

Immediate cut to Yusa, POV right behind Murakami's left arm. The camera pans down.
Murakami holds his hand close to his leg...

Cut very close on the hand. Blood is dripping down his fingers. A fly is on his coat.
Close cut on some small flowers on the ground. As the drops of blood land on them, they shake and move around.

Cut back to Murakami's face. He advances on Yusa. Cut POV behind Murakami. Cut close on Yusa, backing up...cut closer on Murakami's face, determined...

Cut behind Yusa. Murakami advances on him, carefully. Cut close on Yusa, backing up, looks scared. Panicked, in fact, as he fires the gun just as he trips, falling backwards. The music stops again.

Cut very close on some branches of a pine (?) tree [we see needles], we see the bullet hit the branch...

Cut to Murakami, advancing; cut to Yusa, falling down...he fires again [7th and final bullet] -- cut close, it hits a tree trunk...

Close on Murakami. He knows that was the last bullet. Mifune's face tell us so!

Cut to Yusa on the ground, frightened. He points the gun and fires. Click. He obviously was not counting! His eyes bug out as he realizes his predicament.

Cut to Murakami, teeth gritted, really angry!

Amazing shot! Cut to POV on the ground, behind Yusa. Murakami is literally falling towards him. As Yusa tries to escape, his terrified face completely fills the frame at the end of this shot...

Cut very close to the two rolling around in the grass.

Longer shot -- Murakami seems to have him under control...

However [cut, new POV], Murakami falls backwards as Yusa kicks him back with his feet and escapes and runs. Murakami is up. Yusa tries a new tactic. He turns and begins to throw the gun at Murakami. [Is Yusa smart enough to realize that he might buy himself time this way, knowing that Murakami places so much value on retrieving the gun? Or is he just acting on the [normal] criminal impulse? -- I think the former because of the way this is cut.]

[The throwing of the gun is accomplished in three separate cuts!]

As this cut ends, his arm is in front of his body and he is just about to throw the gun [but has not yet].

2nd cut: close on Yusa, finishing the action of throwing the gun [just 11 frames]...

3rd cut: POV of 1st cut, he throws the gun.

[A comment about this very typical AK technique at this point -- you will notice in consecutive cuts like these three -- that the action is often repeated in each cut from a certain prior point. In these three cuts, for example, Ko Kimura is seen beginning to throw the gun in the first cut -- he is just about to release the gun at the end of this cut.
In the beginning of the second cut, his arm has reached back behind his body again to re-start the throw! -- and in the third cut, he again brings his arm back and throws the gun in a complete movement, starting with the action he initiated in the first cut. Because this all happens so quickly, the viewer never notices any of this -- but by studying this technique, we can see plainly that AK was at great pains to present these actions to us in a way that was non-static, vital and artistically superior to the flat, one-cut shot used by most filmmakers for such actions. {with notable exceptions, of course!}]

Murakami dodges the gun and then immediately and frantically searches for it at the base of a tree [so perhaps it was the former!] Yusa runs.

Cut very close on the gun on the ground in the grass. Murakami's hand picks it up [61 frames, the last 11 on the empty grass!]

Cut to the previous POV. Murakami stuffs the gun into his right coat pocket and continues chasing Yusa who hasn't gotten that far because he's so out of shape!

Cut to a new POV from thick foliage. Only if you look really carefully can you see that there is water in the front center of the frame. The two men are in the background of the morning mist, making their way towards camera position. Yusa falls forward as he reaches the camera and splashes into the water. Murakami splashes after him. They struggle in the water.

Cut to a new POV -- there are some flowers which the fill the foreground of the frame, as Yusa comes towards the camera. Murakami dives for his legs.

Cut to a longer, overhead shot of these flowers, very thick here. Yusa struggles along, Murakami after him. Back to a ground-level shot, where the two struggle in the thick flowers for a long 30 seconds!

Cut to a new POV. Yusa advances on the camera, exhausted. He collapses to the ground. Murakami pulls out a pair of handcuffs and

Cut close to his hands, cuffs him...

Cut up to a longer shot -- secure that he's cuffed, Murakami himself collapses to the ground. [This has, after all, been a long chase, well-documented by Kurosawa, don't you think?]

He suddenly sits up, worried, and reaches for his pocket to make sure the gun is still there. [A nice touch.] He holds it in his hand.

Cut to a new POV, from below both men, who are still breathing heavily. Murakami is on the left, Yusa on the right, a clump of flowers between them -- and in the back of the frame -- an opening in the foliage, looking up the hill...

We hear children singing! It is the melody known to Americans as "Lightly Row" -- the children now enter the frame, moving right to left and then on up the hill.

Cut close on Yusa. He turns his head until he is looking straight up.

Cut to several flowers, from his POV, looking straight up!

Cut to other flowers; and

Other flowers -- an insect floats back and forth between them in this cut!

Back to Yusa. He begins to whimper, then crying hysterically. Murakami eyes him silently, as he cries in a truly tortured tone...

HORIZONTAL WIPE (to the left) #16

Sato lying in a hospital bed. Murakami, short-sleeved white shirt, a sling on his left arm, standing at his bedside. Flowers on the table by the window! Murakami sits on the edge of the bed.

Sato: "Congratulations. You were commended? The Inspector told me." The camera moves in a little to frame the two men.

Murakami: "It's really your doing."

"No, no. Your first. Impressed?" He taps him with his fan.

"The whole case was my fault, so..."

"The Colt's still on your mind? It's just the way one thinks. Due to it, we got over 100,000 pistols from Honda." He begins to fan himself. [it's still hot!]

Murakami: "But I somehow feel that Yusa..."

Sato: "Yes, I remember I once felt as you do. It's hard to forget one's first case. But there are many more men like him than you think. Sympathetic feelings fade in time." Pause.
"That dancer, what's her name...?"

"Harumi Namiki?"

"Yes, yes. I can understand her feelings too. But -- look out of the window." Murakami rises and moves to the window. Sato picks up a small hand held mirror from his bed and holds it up to see.

"Many bad things will happen under these roofs." Murakami turns to look at Sato. "Many
good people will be hurt by men like Yusa."

Murakami returns to looking out the window. Sato puts down the mirror. "Forget Yusa.
You'll become busy again when your arm heals. In time, you'll forget him." Fade to black.

"The End" over black background.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

SOURCES:

Stephen Prince: "The Warrior's Camera: The Cinema of Akira Kurosawa," (Princeton University Press (1991/1999) [SP]

Donald Richie: "The Films of Akira Kurosawa," University of California Press (1998) [DR]

James Goodwin: "Akira Kurosawa and Intertextual Cinema," The John Hopkins University Press (1994) [JG]

Stuart Galbraith IV: "The Emperor and the Wolf: The Lives and Films of Akira Kurosawa and Toshiro Mifune," Faber and Faber (2001) [SG]

Akira Kurosawa: "Something Like an Autobiography," Vintage Books (1983) [AK]

34 WIPES

HORIZONTAL WIPE (to the right) -- 18
HORIZONTAL WIPE (to the left) -- 16
VERTICAL WIPE (top to bottom) -- 0
VERTICAL WIPE (bottom to top) -- 0

***

SPECIAL FEATURES:

  • New high-definition digital transfer, with restored image and sound
  • Audio commentary by Stephen Prince, author of The Warrior's Camera: The Cinema of Akira Kurosawa
  • A 32-minute documentary on Stray Dog from the series Akira Kurosawa: It Is Wonderful to Create, including interviews with Kurosawa, production designer Yoshiro Muraki, actress Keiko Awaji, and others
  • New and improved English subtitle translation
  • Optimal image quality; RSDL dual-layer edition
  • Plus: a 16-page booklet featuring Akira Kurosawa on Stray Dog, from his book Something Like an Autobiography and an essay by film critic Terrence Rafferty


  • 2 comments:

    Blogger said...
    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
    Blogger said...
    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.