An earlier work with Mifune as the erratic, error prone, but driven beat cop determined to make up for loosing his departmental – issued gun. Kurosawa takes the viewer on a post WW II adventure through the seedy streets and back alleys of neighborhoods and crime ridden lifestyles of a Japan that will soon disappear. With economic boom looming around the future corner and just over the horizon we gleam a rare last glimpse of this pre-modern nation. Fascinating in it’s simplicity and raw elements.
Amateurish in ways, the energy of Mifune is undeniable as he eats up the screen on energy alone. This perfect match of actor and director ekes out their initial compatibility that will serve the next dozen films or so. We are witnessing the beginnings of one of the most incredible partnerships in cinematic history. Despite the few short falls this is a terrific story beautifully shot in varying shades of gray. A sharper focus is up next with the even more cunning and prolific Drunken Angel. Not to be missed by film noir fans and cultural historians alike, Stray Dog lies the foundation for the modern crime story for here on a true original.