A sweltering day in Tokyo during the hectic years immediately following World War II. Newly appointed police detective Murakami bounces along in a city bus jammed with sweating passengers. A middle-aged woman, packed next to him, appears to be pressing her body against his a little more than necessary. Then, the woman gets off. And Murakami notices he is now minus his service pistol.
Murakami, embarrassed that his pistol was stolen almost immediately following his appointment, tells his superiors what happened. A look through the police “mug book,” and Murakami finds the middle-aged woman. Her name is Ogin, a matron with a record.
Murakami finds Ogin, but she denies either seeing him or riding on the bus. Neverthless, he trails her wherever she goes. Finally, to get rid of him, Ogin tells him to investigate a group illegally trafficking guns. Obviously, she has passed the gun to a fence.
Disguised as a destitute ex-serviceman, Murakami loiters among black market centers hoping to meet a fence. Eventually, he makes contact and is sent to a tea room, where reportedly he can rent a gun using his rice ration book as collateral.
Murakami hastens to the tea room and arrests the proprietress. But she is only a minor stooge. Still, he forces her to betray her boss, a criminal named Honda.
The first bullet: Murakami’s pistol is a .38 Colt automatic loaded with seven bullets. A stickup takes place, and a girl is wounded by a pistol shot filed by a left-handed youth. Urakami has a ballistic expert compare the bullet taken from the girl’s body with one previously fired from the stolen pistol. They match.
Murakami and Sato, an elderly detective, find Honda. When arrested, he is in possession of the rice ration book of the youth who shot the girl. His name is Shinjiro Yura.
Though unable to find Shinjiro, Murakami and Sato locate his elder brother, a respectable hooper. Through the brother, the two detectives learn the whereabouts of one of Shinjiro’s friends, a bellboy at the Sakura Hotel. Approaching the bellboy, Murakami and Sato force him to reveal that Shinjiro, dressed in a new white linen suit had stayed at the hotel with his lover, a dancer named Harumi, just two nights earlier.
The second bullet: Murakami and Sato visit Harumi in the dressing room of the revue theater where she is appearing. They attempt to pump her for information, but she is too frightened to talk. While wasting time with her, a young housewife is killed by a .38 Colt automatic.
The third and fourth bullets: Murakami and Sato succeed in forcing Harumi to reveal that Shinjiro recently stayed at the Azuma Hotel. While Murakami remains with Harumi in an effort to secure further information, Sato goes the Azuma Hotel, but finds Shinjiro gone. Still, the crafty old detective traces him through a geisha house to another cheap hotel. He locates the very room where Shinjiro is now staying and places a telephone call to Murakami. But Shinjiro shoots him twice before the call is completed. Murakami rushes to the hotel to find Sato seriously wounded.
The fifth, sixth and last bullets: Murakami is surprised when Harumi advises him that Shinjiro will be waiting for her at a train station at 6:00 AM.
At the appointed time and place, Murakami, not Harumi, waits. He has never seen Shinjiro or even his photo. All he knows is that he might be wearing a white linen suit. Then, the youthful detective remembers he is unarmed.
Shinjiro appears, but runs when he sees Murakami. He turns and fires, hitting Murakami in the arm. He fires twice more, but misses. The gun empty, Murakami leaps at Shinjiro and succeeds in overpowering him.
- Akira Kurosawa
- Akira Kurosawa
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