Combustible Celluloid
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With: Victoria Shaw, Glenn Corbett, James Shigeta, Anna Lee, Paul Dubov, Jaclynne Greene, Neyle Morrow, Gloria Pall, Pat Silver, George Yoshinaga, Kaye Elhardt, Aya Oyama, George Okamura, Reverend Ryosho S. Sogabe, Bob Okazaki, Fuji
Written by: Samuel Fuller
Directed by: Samuel Fuller
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Running Time: 81
Date: 10/01/1959

The Crimson Kimono (1959)

4 Stars (out of 4)

It's Japantown

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Samuel Fuller's The Crimson Kimono (1959) is mostly a hard-boiled cop thriller, but also manages to make a defiant anti-racist statement without ever getting on a soapbox. Detectives Joe Kojaku (James Shigeta) and Charlie Bancroft (Glenn Corbett) are old war buddies and partners; their friendship runs deep and is seemingly invulnerable to racial tensions. (They share an apartment, and Charlie even carries a pint of Joe's blood around in his veins.) When they begin investigating the murder of a stripper, they meet Christine Downs (Victoria Shaw), who painted the stripper's portrait. Both men fall in love with her, but she only has eyes for Joe. Tensions rise between the trio, and Joe can't help seeing race as part of the issue. Aside from playing out these powerful emotions, Fuller keeps up equally with the tricky murder case, never faltering or failing to provide a gut-punch of a scene. (Martin Scorsese, in an extra feature on this disc, describes each of Fuller's scenes as big headlines.)

[See also The Samuel Fuller Collection.]

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