Collection of four crime dramas from acclaimed Japanese filmmaker Akira Kurosawa. In ‘Drunken Angel’ (1948) Takashi Shimura plays Sanada, a doctor working in a devastatingly poor area of immediately-post-war Tokyo. The area is overrun with competing gangsters who have lost most of their power during the American occupation. Toshiro Mifune – in the first leading role that made him a star – plays Matsunaga, a handsome young hoodlum who one night comes to the doctor’s surgery with a small bullet wound in his hand. The doctor treats the wound but also diagnoses Matsunaga as having tuberculosis. The gangster’s arrogance prevents him from acknowledging his illness, but his position within his organisation comes increasingly under threat. In ‘Stray Dog’ (1949) young detective Murakami (Mifune) has his gun stolen and his desperate wish to retrieve it sends him deep into Tokyo’s criminal underworld. Meanwhile, the gun is passed from the pickpocket who stole it to a young gangster and is then used in the killing of an innocent woman. Murakami’s guilt and remorse over this death leads him to ask senior detective Sato (Takashi Shimura) for help, and together the two of them do everything they can to find the gun before the killer strikes again. In ‘The Bad Sleep Well’ (1960), a tale of revenge, Koichi Nishi (Mifune) obtains a position as private secretary to Iwabuchi (Masayuki Mori), the government official he suspects killed his father. Nishi then marries Iwabuchi’s daughter and plans a fitting retribution. In ‘High and Low’ (1963) industrialist Kingo Gondo (Mifune) faces a dilemma when a kidnapper snatches the son of his chauffeur by mistake: if he pays the ransom, he will not be able to take over the shoe company he works for, and will face ruin as a result. Meanwhile, police pursue the kidnapper (Tsutomu Yamazaki) through the waterfront bars and heroin dens he frequents.
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