Akira KurosawaJapan122 minutes1949B&WJapanese
Toshiro Mifune gives an electrifying performance in Akira Kurosawa's strikingly composed film noir, playing a young detective who sets out to retrieve his lost service firearm, which he discovers has been used in a robbery and murder. Afraid that he will lose his job, the cop becomes a "mad dog" stalking the thief through the heat-baked back streets of Tokyo, from the black-market sector to a "girlie show" and finally to a seedy hotel, where he finds himself face to face with his homicidal double. Kurosawa gives the Langian theme of the cop and criminal as mirror images of each other a startling new potency in his dark vision of postwar Japan, with its atmosphere of moral chaos and urban decay. "Ranks with Kurosawa's greatest work" (The New York Times); "the best detective picture ever made in Japan" (Donald Richie).