Stray Dog

Stray Dog ★★★★★

KUROSAWA MIFUNE SHIMURA: What Else Need I Say?

This is the perfect hot day Japanese noir film from Kurosawa, inventing this sort of detective film for Japan from his own knowledge of detective fiction and American detective films.

Toshiro Mifune has found his stride as a brilliant international star able to carry a film, Takashi Shimura shines again deeply but quietly as the experienced Mentor to him who runs half as fast but gets further, and in their young ingenue they found a brat equal to Lauren Bacall or the other chicks Bogart lights cigarettes for.

This Japan is rattled, corrupt, discouraged, having been beaten in war and occupied--by my Dad in fact, only two years after this film. And in true noir fashion, we get a wonderful tour of the underworld of Tokyo in 1949 and how sweaty and rainy it is.

Don't get me wrong. I love Sam Spade and Phillip Marlowe. Grew up on 'em. But I love young Toshiro Mifune here before he becomes all knowing and arrogant, and is still trim, shaven, and making mistakes. At this point, he's irresisistible.