New Release: High and Low Blu-ray

High and Low movie scene

Toshiro Mifune makes a life or death decision in High and Low.

The Criterion Collection released the outstanding 1963 crime drama-thriller High and Low, by the legendary Japanese movie director Akira Kurosawa (Seven Samurai), on Blu-ray on July 26, 2011.

In the film, the great Toshiro Mifune (Rashomon) stars as Kingo Gondo, a wealthy industrialist whose family becomes the target of a cold-blooded kidnapper.

Adapting Ed McBain’s detective novel King’s Ransom, Kurosawa moves effortlessly from compelling race-against-time thriller to exacting social commentary in High and Low. A tense masterpiece, the movie wholly deserves its reputation as both a highly influential domestic drama and a trend-setting police procedural.

Presented in Japanese with English subtitles, High and Low was last issued on DVD by Criterion in 2008. That version is still available.

The Blu-ray, which carries a list price of $39.95, features a high-definition digital restoration, with the original four-track surround sound presented in DTS-HD Master Audio. The disc also has the following special features, all of which originally appeared on the Criterion DVD:

  • audio commentary by Akira Kurosawa scholar Stephen Prince
  • documentary on the making of High and Low, created as part of the Toho Masterworks series Akira Kurosawa: It Is Wonderful to Create
  • rare video interview with actor Toshiro Mifune
  • video interview with actor Tsutomu Yamazaki, who plays the kidnapper
  • theatrical trailers from Japan and the U.S.
  • booklet featuring an essay by critic Geoffrey O’Brien and a reprinted on-set account by Japanese film scholar Donald Richie


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About Laurence

Founder and editor Laurence Lerman saw Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest when he was 13 years old and that’s all it took. He has been writing about film and video for more than a quarter of a century for magazines, anthologies, websites and most recently, Video Business magazine, where he served as the Reviews Editor for 15 years.