Stray Dog (1949) DVDRip Jap sub Eng (SiRiUs sHaRe) CD1.avi
Stray Dog (1949) DVDRip Jap sub Eng (SiRiUs sHaRe) CD2.avi
Stray Dog (1949).rtf
Stray Dog (Nora Inu) (1949)
Murukami, a young homicide detective, has his pocket picked on a bus and loses his pistol. Frantic and ashamed, he dashes about trying to recover the weapon without success until taken under the wing of an older and wiser detective, Sato. Together they track the culprit.
Toshirô Mifune ... Det. Murakami
Takashi Shimura ... Det. Sato
Keiko Awaji ... Harumi Namaki, showgirl
Eiko Miyoshi ... Harumi's mother
Noriko Sengoku ... Girl
Fumiko Honma ... Wooden Tub Shop woman
Yasushi Nagata (as Kiyoshi Nagata)
Isao Kimura ... Yusa
Minoru Chiaki ... Girlie Show director
Ichirô Sugai ... Yayoi Hotel owner
Gen Shimizu ... Police Inspector Nakajima
STRAY DOG stands as the legendary Akira Kurosawa's first real masterpiece, noteworthy for at least two big reasons: the style - classic American film noir (rich, velvety b&w atmospheres), enhanced with a touch of Italian neo-realism (great use of diverse locations, which provide a great view of day-to-day postwar Japan), and the star, a young Toshiro Mifune, whose truly collaborative association with Kurosawa was cemented here, and would grow in spectacular fashion during the subsequent 16 years.
Mifune became as much of an international icon as Kurosawa, and this is the first film where it's easily evident why. As an example of film noir, STRAY DOG offers plenty of gripping suspense and moral complexity, and holds up well alongside classics like THE BIG HEAT, THE KILLING or THE MALTESE FALCON. Kurosawa touched upon international influences to an unprecedented degree in Japanese film (the internationalist impulses of Ozu, Kenji Mizoguchi or Mikio Naruse are just as deep and varied, but far more discreetly deployed), Kurosawa also skillfully highlights Japanese specifics (the rookie cop expecting to be fired, even accepting the possibility in an apologetic fashion, only to be assured that he will not be fired - this would not occur in a similar American setting), while always linking the same details to universals: honor, nobility, responsibility. This would become the thread linking Kurosawa's celebrated period/samurai films to his contemporary dramas. STRAY DOG was perhaps the first of his films where it truly resonates in a global fashion - a timeless, classic film.
This early Kurosawa film interested me not only as a historical object, but because, as in every one of his films I've seen so far, the moral and philosophical implication of the story carries as much weight as the dramatic and poetic aspects. As another commenter said here, "When was the last time you saw a film where the central character had something called a moral imperative." To me it's extremely gratifying to find directors like Kurosawa, Bergman, and today's Hirokazu Kore-eda who treat moral themes seriously and with dignity, and don't shy away from difficult questions.
I was also intrigued by how almost every scene bears, already, the stamp of Kurosawa's unique vision as a director. I have no idea how this comes about, but there's just something there, almost like a fingerprint, that says "Kurosawa" unmistakeably. I would have to leave it to more gifted and better schooled viewers than myself to explain it, but I love seeing it. In part, I suppose it's due to the exceptionally fine cinematographers that Kurosawa habitually worked with.
I think the film is about thirty minutes too long, but if I have to see a film that's a bit too long, I'm at least glad it's by Kurosawa!
The following year, 1950, would see Kurosawa achieve his first major international success with the masterpiece Rashomon. Here, Kurosawa doesn't quite have the sureness of touch which would characterize most of his career, but Stray Dog is nevertheless a fine film noir and an effective exploration of Kurosawa's ideas about postwar Japan in particular and the human condition in general.
As you might expect from such a genius, Kurosawa is not satisfied with a simple good-guys/bad-guys cops-and-robbers story. He explores in depth the social and economic conditions in postwar Japan which led many young people--particularly returning veterans--to take to crime, and also the particular circumstances which motivate the acts of Yusa (Isao Kimura), the criminal. Indeed, a series of mistakes by the hero, rookie detective Murakami (Toshiro Mifune), are one factor behind Yusa's crimes.
But neither is Stray Dog a facile blame-society message film, either. Kurosawa makes no excuses for Yusa. By giving Murakami a very similar history (so similar, in fact, that it comes off as a little contrived), Kurosawa makes the point that Yusa had the same choice as Murakami. That he chose differently is his responsibility.
But even more interesting to me is the character of chief detective Sato (Takashi Shimura), Murakami's superior officer, mentor, and friend.
Sato is the wise elder figure in this film, and in the hands of a lesser artist than Kurosawa, such a character generally ends up as a mouthpiece for the director's own viewpoint. Here, though, Kurosawa permits Sato to espouse a hardcore law-and-order philosophy: The cops are the good guys, the crooks are the bad guys, and that's it. Sato has no patience for Murakami's guilt feelings or touchy-feely philosophizing.
That Kurosawa would permit this view (which is not Kurosawa's view, nor the film's) to be given voice by the film's wisest, kindest, most competent, and most likable character is a mark of his confidence and courage.
# During the opening credits, there is footage of a panting dog. However, when American censors saw the footage, they assumed that the dog had been harmed. This run-in with American censors caused Kurosawa to remark that this was the only time he wished Japan had not lost WWII.