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Film: Stray Dog

”A stray dog sees only what it chases”
Detective Sato

Stray Dog (Nora Inu) is an Akira Kurosawa film of 1949. It tells the story of rookie homicide detective Murakami as he searches for his stolen pistol. He's helped in his search by Sato, a more experienced detective, but he's also wracked by guilt because the gun has been used to commit crimes.

One of the first films to deal with the “older detective trains younger detective” plot you can see in films like Se7en or Training Day.

No relation with the manga.


Tropes in this film:

  • The Atoner: Murakami wants to catch Yusa because he knows he has committed crimes using his gun.
  • Doing It for the Art: The file cabinets in the movie were all filled by cards with information on them despite none of these card ever showing up on camera. The crew invented an entire city's criminal background just for the sake of "realism."
  • Film Noir: A rare non-American or European example
  • Heat Wave: There's one throughout the film, pictured by having everyone using fans all the time.
  • Hey, It's That Guy!: Toshiro Mifune and Takashi Shimura appeared in a lot of Kurosawa's films.
  • Nice Hat: Murakami's flat cap and Sato's fedora.
  • Not So Different: A major theme of the movie is the many similarities between Murakami and Yusa.
  • Old Cop, Young Cop: One of the earliest examples
  • Old Shame: Kurosawa considered this film was “too technical” and that it had “all that technique and not one real thought in it”.
  • Playing Against Type: A retroactive example, since Toshiro Mifune plays the role of the rookie detective in this film but is better known for the gruff samurai he played later in his career.
  • The Stoic: Sato. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t care, though.
    Creator/Akira KurosawaRashomon
Strange Psychokinetic StrategyJapanese FilmsSuicide Club
Straw DogsCreator/The Criterion CollectionSullivans Travels
She Wore a Yellow RibbonFilms of the 1940sThe Third Man

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