[[quoteright:310:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/High-and-Low-1963_2347.jpg]]

A 1963 film directed by Creator/AkiraKurosawa and starring ToshiroMifune, based on ''King's Ransom'', an Literature/EightySeventhPrecinct novel by Creator/EdMcBain.

Kingo Gondo is a wealthy executive (the factory manager) for National Shoes. He's caught in a power struggle between a trio of directors who want to wrest control from the company's president, and the autocratic president himself. Behind the scenes, he's arranged a leveraged buyout that will give him control of the company so that he can run it his way. Just as he's committed himself to this course of action, mortgaging everything he has, Gondo is informed that his child Jun has been kidnapped, and the kidnapper demands a ludicrously high ransom.

Gondo is prepared to pay even if it ruins him, but then learns that his son is safe. Instead, the kidnapper has accidentally taken Shinichi, the son of Gondo's chauffeur. Gondo must now struggle with the moral dilemma of either bankrupting himself for another man's child...or letting the child die at the hands of the kidnapper.

While Gondo suffers from this dilemma, and the results of his decision, the police attempt to match wits with the kidnapper and bring him to justice.

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!!Tropes seen in this movie include:

* AdultFear: Your child being kidnapped? Check. Financial ruin? Double check.
* BittersweetEnding: [[spoiler: Shinichi is alive and safe, but his father has probably lost his job. Gondo loses his job, his wealth and all his possessions, but gains the respect of a nation and gets a lower-paying but more rewarding job with a smaller company. The police catch the kidnapper, but not before he's murdered his accomplices and an innocent bystander, and too late to save Gondo's wealth. And the kidnapper succeeds in destroying Gondo's wealth and position, but breaks down when he sees that Gondo himself is able to endure this.]]
* ChekhovsSkill: Gondo's youth as a cobbler's apprentice comes in handy when the police need to hide something in briefcases.
* CorruptCorporateExecutive: The three directors want to take over National Shoes so that they can make gaudy but shoddy products at a high profit, assuming their customers will be easily fooled by advertising. The "Old Man", who is never seen, does not appear to be corrupt, but is autocratic and behind the times.
* CowboysAndIndians: Jun and Shinichi play "Sheriff and Outlaw", then switch roles and outfits; this leads to the wrong boy being kidnapped.
* FaceHeelTurn: Gondo's secretary Kawanishi defects to the side of the directors; he tries to disguise this as a HeelFaceTurn, but Gondo easily sees through it.
* FilmOfTheBook / ForeignRemake: Based on the novel ''[[Literature/EightySeventhPrecinct King's Ransom]]'' by Ed [=McBain=] (pen name of Creator/EvanHunter).
* FreudianExcuse / NoodleIncident: It's hinted that the kidnapper's life has been hellish, including whatever gave him that nasty scar. But he decides not to tell Gondo about it, because he doesn't want to be pitied.
* HonestCorporateExecutive: Gondo, while engaging in some sneaky dealings, wants to produce good quality and stylish shoes at a reasonable price as this will produce more profits in the long run.
* MoralityChain: Gondo's wife Reiko, at first, and later his son Jun.
* PhoneTraceRace: Police trying to trace the phone calls.
* PoliceProcedural: Particularly in the second part of the film.
* ScaryShinyGlasses: The kidnapper's sunglasses always manage to have bright light reflecting in them.
* ShoddyKnockoffProduct: At the beginning of the movie, Gondo is being pressured into making crappier, cheaper and absolutely flimsy shoes at the National Shoe to drive up profits. He doesn't warm up to the idea at all.
* SelfMadeMan: Gondo worked his way up from cobbler's apprentice to the position he now occupies, though his marriage to Reiko did give him much more wealth to work with.
* SplashOfColor: A plume of pink smoke when the kidnapper disposes of evidence appears in color.
* VillainousBreakdown
* YamatoNadeshiko: Reiko
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