RARA-AVIS: Variations on Trope

Reed Andrus (randrus@home.com)
Wed, 27 Oct 1999 04:47:56 -0700

> From: Bob Toomey <btoomey@javanet.com>

> > 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.

Interesting. It's been many, many years since I read _King's Ransom_, but your comment keyed a memory of William P. McGivern's _Night of the Juggler_ -- cab driver's kid gets kidnapped by mistake, and the hunt is on. I don't remember any moral dilemma in the McGivern piece; he opted
(as I recall) for more action and the suspense of whether or not a slightly deranged kidnapper would off the kid, or recognize his mistake and return him. Good writing.

Guess I'll go try _King's Ransom_ again.

... Reed

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