YES, this beautiful American girl in the arms of a Japanese boy!
A Los Angeles detective and his Japanese partner woo an artist while solving a stripper's murder.
A Los Angeles detective and his Japanese partner woo an artist while solving a stripper's murder.
It doesn’t take much to realize that The Crimson Kimono, which features a quiet, tentative romance between a white American and a Nisei, or a second-generation Japanese American, was progressive for its time. Many would likely be surprised to know, however, that, in 1959, the year the film was released, nearly two dozen states in the U.S. still enforced anti-miscegenation laws, about half of which included "Asians" among the races whites were banned from marrying. And, according to a 1958 Gallup poll, 94 percent of white Americans disapproved of interracial marriage.
So yes, writer-producer-director Sam Fuller indeed wanted to push boundaries, which wasn't uncommon for him. The studio, typically, was more concerned about the bottom line, and tried to exploit…
Fuller’s pulpy, aggro style should be so antithetical to a serious examination of the role of race in America, yet few white filmmakers of his or any other time have more excoristingly explored the corrosive properties of racism. The Steel Helmet, made during the Korean War, explicitly confronts a black GI for risking his life to serve a country that actively denies him his rights, while White Dog suggests that the ambient corruption of racism is so strong that even animals can be warped by proximity to it. Yet the most tragic of Fuller’s explorations of the topic may be this, a detective story-cum-romance in which white and Japanese-American partners with a deep bond are fractured over the sentiments that…
“normal, healthy, jealous hate.”
feels at minimum five years ahead of its time. i preferred the whiplash-paced crime story to the romantic melodrama, but the latter aspect is undeniably more important. this sam fuller guy seems to know his stuff.
"Normal, healthy, jealous HATE!"
Racism is a slow-acting toxin that can poison even the closest, prejudice-free relationships, as long as the suggestion of it hangs so thick in the air. Here it gets in the way of not just a classic love triangle but a juicy murder investigation, and it's only the violent conclusion of the latter that allows for any measure of closure at all.
“Though it looked like a pretty conventional cops-and-criminals movie, The Crimson Kimono was almost operatic in its tone. I was trying to make an unconventionally triangular love story, laced with reverse racism, a kind of narrow-mindedness that's just as deplorable as outright bigotry.“ Samuel Fuller from A Third Face
I’d argue that Crimson Kimono would have be a classic hard-hitting noir in any case, stocked as it is with percussively edited action set pieces like the stripper fleeing down the streets of LA filmed with secret cameras and dodging real traffic and unsuspecting civilians. However, Fuller’s twists turn this into a unique film, and there are so few unique films.
By making one of the two buddy cops Japanese-American, he…
Motherfucking cinema imo.
Fuller's heralded direction is deserving of its accolades, certainly, in terms of the cinematography, storytelling (mostly), and his anti-racist themes. Shadows and faces (erm, not intentionally referencing Cassavetes) dominate the film, giving us both mystery and humanity, which feels right for Fuller. A misstep or two in one area is off-set by strengths in others--the sword fight is an awkward moment narratively but choreographed perfectly. The progressive social commentary is played up heavily, but at least it's there in some form.
What felt off to me, though, were the performances. I did not feel the chemistry. The two friends/partners on the force seemed a little awkward, perhaps because of the slightly heavy handed script at times, and the love triangle suffered because of it. The inherent betrayal of it lacked the punch it deserved, and using the sword fight scene to climax it only weakened it further.
December count: 19/100
Fuller in full effect. It’s amazing how he got so many dynamic master shots on these tight budgets but that was just the cinematic language used more back then. While not as provocative as it was back then, the racial tension is oddly casual for the time except for any “makin whoopie” scenes.
Otherwise, fantastic noir.
Also the lead in the film, Joseph Shigeta, was Takagi in DIE HARD! Badass AND trailblazer!
The Crimson Kimono is very entertaining. The film starts as a detective/mystery story, one that is quite aggressive in its tone and approach. The first few minutes are strippers, murder, bright lights and booming music. It morphs into an interesting noir take, complete with the elements we're used to seeing - femme fatales, mystery, shadows, procedural in its nature. But the film is also a buddy cop story. Charlie and Joe are great together, pivoting from caring to biting at the drop of a hat. Those aren't the only tonal shifts, act three is a combination of a romance and social issue films as it tackles multiple relationships with a focus on an interracial connection. Fuller's direction is…
ok not BOTH of these taglines making james shigeta seem like some FREAK for white girls lmao...
i love how this is a looks-could-kill noir but in a slightly different interpretation
I don't often see The Crimson Kimono mentioned in discussions of films that so immediately and effortlessly express the film noir aesthetic, but Fuller really nails it right from the outset here. Smash cuts and harsh lighting highlight the ill-fated night club and immediately deliver the violence and sexuality of noir. It's seedy, it's grim; it's all sharp edges and sharper contrasts.
But the central contrast here is between the two lead investigators: Charlie Bancroft is "caucasian" and Joe Kojaku is Japanese-American. But they seem to share quite the camaraderie despite their racial difference, sleeping in cramped hotel rooms together and sharing room service like a…
First and foremost, beyond anything else it's important to acknowledge just how progressive and forward thinking a storyteller like Samuel Fuller was. Using his influence and clout to tell stories like this, allowing Asian characters to exist like James Shigeta's Joe does here. Regardless of how one feels about the execution, one has to admire the Fuller telling stories like these (see also: James Loo's character in The Steel Helmet ).Some of the storytelling is a bit clunky, editing-wise the transition between the two detectives isn't great sometimes, the martial arts beatdown scene is a bit off, and I feel like with a longer runtime this could've been a masterpiece. But as it is it's still a very…
Like every Sam Fuller joint always seems untouched. But viewing from now for the first time after disregarding it in my watchlist for two years; it definitely feels like this compact film should be retold.
This would have been in my opinion a really great array of Fuller’s expansive creativity in storytelling mixing in crime and romance with the pressing issues of its time. I loved everything about Chris and Joe. They filled the room with an otherworldly bliss.
Lots of great shots sprinkled throughout.
I’m shocked this hasn’t gotten more traction in recent years.
Pretty good performances all around.
Victoria Shaw 😍
It makes you sick to your stomach! Look at your face!
Really wish it spent more time to develop the central romance and love triangle. I like the characters and the world and the presentation of it all, and I appreciate the note Fuller was going for; but as it is, the main idea feels more like an afterthought awkwardly jammed into the movie.
Fuller roped me in with a crackling pulp crime movie (it opens with a stripper getting gunned down in the middle of a busy LA street, automatically making this the most Fuller movie ever made) before revealing that it's actually a love triangle story.
And I'm not mad one bit.
This is one of the more prescient commentaries on internalized racism and self doubt I've seen out there.
This was quite disappointing for me, it just didn’t keep my attention. It began strong but fizzled out as it went on and became boring and almost dragged, which is a bad thing considering the film is 1hr 21mins. I don’t even know some of the stuff that happened because I just lost interest.
It was a well written film with great aspects to it, this is the reason it’s getting a 6/10, however other than that there is not much as I can say on this one.
I don’t know if I’d recommend this one or not, it was good, just a big let down, but give it a go because you may like it more than me. After all, films are subjective.
Two detectives (Glenn Corbett, James Shigeta) are on a case to find a stripper’s killer in the Japanese part of Los Angeles. Little Tokyo. Their partnership is threatened when both men fall for the same woman (Victoria Shaw). I love that this film is two films in one, a murder mystery and a romance that deals with inter-racial relations. The film has a great black and white look to it, making it seem very stark and realistic. The murder mystery is a little weak, but the three-way romance more than makes up for it, creating a movie that was way before its time. My Rating: Bargain Matinee
"Normal, healthy, jealous hate."
Sam Fuller stayed ahead of his time. it's not just the frank, progressive depictions of racial issues in this one; everything from the story to much of the dialogue feels really contemporary.
does feel like maybe a few too many scenes were cut from this, there are a couple head scratching transitions.
God this movie was so close to being a genuinely great depiction of an internally conflicted japanese american man, but then it pretty much completely sabotages all of that in its dire attempts to spare Good White People’s feelings to the point it made me want to vomit. Joe has to live every day at odds with the white people around him because, as he says, he knows how they really feel about him at large, about the prejudices lurking within them, no matter how well they hide it. He’s right to say this and he’s right to have these anxieties, this sensitivity to the smallest reactions of those around him, but the Good White People call him stupid for…
Great atmosphere.. half crime, half drama – all good!
This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
I'm not in total agreement with the film's thesis on anti-Asian racism, but the fact that it even *has* one is actually super interesting.
I do love that Chris simply goes with the man that she had more in common with, and that Charlie isn't some proto-white savior character that acts like an angel in the face of any type of dramatic/romantic tension. "Are we still partners?" "No."
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Airing dates and times are in the notes (Eastern Standard Time).