Two detectives are assigned to investigate the murder of a 60-year-old policeman at the Tokyo Railway Station. The victim is well-liked and benevolent and there does not seem to be any motivation to the murder. A further investigation finally leads to the discovery of the hidden past of a young rising composer.
The original novel by Matsumoto Seicho on which the film is based has been a bestseller in Japan. The adaptation by Yamada Yoji and director Nomura Toshitaro skillfully incorporates the elements of melodrama, suspense and thriller to form a tightly structured human drama about someone who attempts to escape from his past but fails. —YesAsia
Yoshitaro Nomura, Japanese film director (b. April 23, 1919, Tokyo, Japan—d. April 8, 2005, Tokyo), pioneered the film noir genre in Japanese cinema. The son of film director Hotei Nomura, Yoshitaro Nomura signed with the Shochiku film studio when he was 22 years old and made his directorial debut with Hato (Pigeon) in 1953. Though he made samurai dramas and musicals, he was best known for his film noirs, including his masterpiece Suna no utsuwa (1974; Castle of Sand), a thriller that follows the investigation of a murdered police officer; it was considered among the finest films ever made in Japan. —Britannica
I've read complaints about the "overly melodramatic" last 40-minutes, but I found it incredibly powerful and moving. The creation of the strong bond between father and son is palpable. Set to the concerto, it is great almost silent filmmaking, with outstanding cinematography. My second Nomura film and I can't wait to see more. Ranks very highly in favorites of the 1970s.
Huge box-office hit in Japan. Police procedural movie. I liked the opposition City/Countryside and above all the last half hour describing the destiny of the murderer with the Concerto for Piano and Orchestra in background. Of course, one may be a little surprised by the numerous coincidences that allow the detectives to go on with their investigation. Recommended.