Re: RARA-AVIS: Hammett or Daly?

Bob Toomey (
Tue, 26 Oct 1999 21:06:06 -0400

> Someone mentioned Kurosawa's "Bad Sleep Well". I don't know such movie,
> what year was it made and what's the original title? Is it "Nora Inu"
> from 1949?

It's _Warui yatsu hodo yoku nemuru_ (1960). Sort of Tokyo Noir, it stars Takashi Shimura and has a Hamletesque (not Hammettesque) plot about a young salaryman who ferrets out corruption in his company in an attempt to expose the corporate executive responsible for his father's death.

> But we still don't know if Kurosawa knew Hammett. But in the early
> sixties he filmed Ed McBain's novel - in Finland the film is called
> "Heaven and Hell", but just now I don't remember what McBain novel it
> was. Maybe Kurosawa did know American hard boiled literature.

That would be _Tengoku to jigoku_ (_High and Low_, 1963), based on McBain's _King's Ransom_. Toshiro Mifune plays the business executive whose chauffeur's son is kidnapped by mistake. The kidnappers were after Mifune's kid. Now he has to decide whether to pay the ransom for somebody else's son with the money he intended to use to close a critical business deal. It was a lovely moral dilemma in McBain's book, and Kurasawa does a magnificent job with it.


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