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Stray Dog (The Criterion Collection) (1949)

Toshir˘ Mifune , Takashi Shimura , Akira Kurosawa  |  Unrated |  DVD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Toshir˘ Mifune, Takashi Shimura, Keiko Awaji, Eiko Miyoshi, Noriko Sengoku
  • Directors: Akira Kurosawa
  • Writers: Akira Kurosawa, Ryűz˘ Kikushima
  • Producers: Akira Kurosawa, Kajir˘ Yamamoto, Senkichi Taniguchi, S˘jir˘ Motoki
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, Color, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: Japanese (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Criterion
  • DVD Release Date: May 25, 2004
  • Run Time: 122 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0001UZZSG
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #95,749 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Stray Dog (The Criterion Collection)" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Audio commentary by Stephen Prince, author of The Warrior's Camera: The Cinema of Akira Kurosawa
  • Akira Kurosawa: It Is Wonderful to Create, a 32-minute documentary on the making of Stray Dog
  • Booklet featuring an excerpt from Kurosawa's autobiography, Something Like an Autobiography

Editorial Reviews

Toshiro Mifune. A Japanese detective descends into a criminal underworld to find his missing gun-and the killer who's been using it. Directed by Akira Kurosawa. In Japanese with English subtitles. 1949/b&w/122 min/NR/fullscreen.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
49 of 50 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Homage & Echoes and Finally, Stubbornly Original. December 26, 2001
Format:VHS Tape|Verified Purchase
I am not a Japanese film historian, so others can elaborate on that aspect. When it started, I wasn't sure I would take to this film, but it draws you in inexorably. Shot on location in Tokyo, remarkably just 3 or 4 years after the end of WWII, it most reminds me of a Japanese Naked City, with echoes and moments reminiscent of other American gangster films all the way back to Public Enemy and The Roaring Twenties of the 30's.

The location photography alone is fascinating in depicting the Japan of 1948 or 49. And the story progresses as a very young Toshiro Mifune wanders through various levels of that postwar society in search of the thief who stole his Colt. On hand also, is that wonderful actor in Kurosawa's repertory company that was the leader of the 7 Samurai, and here too, is the older & wiser mentor to Mifune.

Finally, the movie wins you over for its own reasons. Though early, Kurosawa's composition, framing, and directorial skill is evident. The performances are fine. The atmosphere and location photography ground the film in reality. And it is a more complex film and story than it first appears. And, like early Ford, there is poetry amid the restrictions of budget and resources. And like early Ford, it presages what was to come. Good stuff if you've a mind for it. 5 stars for those folks.
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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Good time for a showdown." January 10, 2005
The sweltering heat of summer in the big city, the atmosphere of a metropolis in a time of drastic change, an idealistic young rookie out on a quest for personal revenge...

What can I say? Every time I think I have Kurosawa figured out he again amazes me with the incredible power of story-telling that he wields. While many will praise the master of Japanese cinema for his awesoem samurai epics, this one strikes a similar chord to High and Low, spinning a tale of social commentary in post-war Japan. There are differences though. Big ones.

While High and Low (like this film) tells us a great deal about police-work and the state of Japan after World War II (and the terrible things that people may or may not have been forced to do as a result of the social upheaval), this film is more personal.

Toshiro Mifune is probably the greatest actor in Japanese history, and his early performance here struck me very hard indeed. Previously I had seen Mifune as an old man and a rascal, but never playing a serious dramatic lead as a young man (ordinary Joe). When our young protagonist loses his gun, I can feel his shame and disgrace, and feel his terrible moment of panic. As the film progresses, he continues to scan every room as if it might hold some hidden clue, and his intensity is such that it worries his superiors and outright frightens normal people who get in his way. As the film progresses we watch the tension grow, and see his mind pushed closer and closer to the edge. He isn't worried about his gun. He is obsessed. Every new crime he hears about triggers the reaction "Was it MY gun?!
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30 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A consistently fascinating film June 18, 2001
Format:VHS Tape
I foung this to be an absolutely fascinating film on several levels.
First, although we primarily associate Kurosawa with period films, this was one of his relatively few contemporary films. Along with the utterly phenomenal IKIRU (1952) and HIGH AND LOW (1963), it is one of his three most successful nonhistorical films. Nonetheless, for us in the early part of the 21st century, it possesses a great deal of almost documentary interest for glimpses into life in post-war Japan. Released in 1949, it depicts a Japan that had not yet begun the strong enonomic recovery of the 1950s. I found the numerous images of individuals struggling on the margins of economic survivability to be riveting. This was seen not merely in the "stray dog" who possessed the gun of the main character, but in many minor characters, not all of whom we actually see. One of the truly sad moments was when Takashi Shimura (familiar as the head samurai of SEVEN SAMURAI, the dying man in IKIRU, and the woodcutter of RASHOMON) explains to Toshiro Mifune how a thief's stealing the cash a woman had saved for her dowry probably meant that she would not have enough money saved again until she was an old maid, implying that the thief had stolen not merely her cash, but her chance of happiness in life as well.
Second, seeing Toshiro Mifune playing a despondent, anxious, inexperienced, overly deferential detective was a completely new experience. It is a range of emotions that I had not previously seen him put on display in anyother role. I must add that I think most contemporary American viewers will find, perhaps, his character to be a little too groveling and impetuously stupid.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A story that has real meaning in today's world. October 5, 2005
"Stray Dog" is a story about a Japanese veteran who comes home to a destroyed world after W.W.I.I.. Many veterans returning home today could probably relate. Director Kurosawa did a magnificent job relating a world in total colapse, and illustrating the strugle that everday people had to go through to survive and go on living.

Being a history buff, I found the scenes of life in Japan after the war to be very enlightening.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
One of his best! One of the few movies that shows post war Japan.
Published 28 days ago by Leonard Roos
5.0 out of 5 stars A deeply enriching noir film
"Stray Dog" is possibly the greatest suspense noir ever made. It's a detective police story about a young police officer who gets his gun stolen while he's traveling on a... Read more
Published 4 months ago by B. Adducchio
5.0 out of 5 stars Find the thief!
`Stray Dog' is Akira Kurosawa's 'Ladri di biciclette'. But, the movie doesn't reach the top level of Vittorio De Sica's masterpiece. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Luc REYNAERT
5.0 out of 5 stars CAPTIVATING SHOWGIRLS
This is a good detective story with a dramatic ending but what makes it really interesting are two other things. Read more
Published 19 months ago by The Curmudgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Japanese film noir
Filmed a few years after the end of the war in the still bombed-out Japanese cities, this excellent movie depicts a police officer pursuing a killer.
Published 22 months ago by Paul Mccarthy
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating.
I first saw this film on TCM. once again, Kurasawa gave us a masterpiece. one of the most interesting aspect of this film is that it was shot within a few years of the end of World... Read more
Published 22 months ago by Richard Ranta
4.0 out of 5 stars Neorealism....the Japanese Post-War Experience..
"Nora inu" ("Stray Dog") from 1949 was directed by undoubtedly one of the greatest 'auteurs' of all-time, Akira Kurosawa. Read more
Published on June 1, 2012 by CARLOS ROMERO
2.0 out of 5 stars Not Kurosawa's best
Kurosowa has made some terrific films, but this isn't one of them. It's plodding pace and bland story put me to sleep.
Published on March 9, 2012 by Citris1
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic early Kurosawa film starring a young Mifune
I had this film on VHS but am glad to own it on DVD with its digital clarity. It's a terrific, gripping crime story with the feel of '40s film noir, but with the incredible added... Read more
Published on February 8, 2012 by G. Asakawa
5.0 out of 5 stars "I have an awful feeling something worse will happen."
For those who've only ever seen Toshir˘ Mifune in his most iconic films (SEVEN SAMURAI, YOJIMBO, THE HIDDEN FORTRESS), STRAY DOG, a low key crime thriller launched in 1949,... Read more
Published on September 6, 2011 by H. Bala
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