|Directed by||Stuart Heisler|
|Written by||Walter Doniger|
|Screenplay by|| Cyril Hume |
|Based on||Steve Fisher|
(from a story by)
|Produced by||Robert Lord|
|Cinematography||Charles Lawton Jr.|
|Edited by||Viola Lawrence|
|Music by||George Antheil|
|Color process||Black and white|
|Distributed by||Columbia Pictures|
|Box office||$1.9 million|
Tokyo Joe is a 1949 American film noir crime film directed by Stuart Heisler and starring Humphrey Bogart. This was Heisler's first of two features starring Bogart, the other was Chain Lightning that also wrapped in 1949 but was held up in release until 1950.
After spending World War II in the Air Force, ex-Colonel Joe Barrett returns to Tokyo to see if there is anything left of his pre-war bar and gambling joint, Tokyo Joe's. Amazingly, it is more or less intact and being run by his old friend Ito. Joe is shocked to learn from Ito that his wife Trina, whom he thought had died in the war, is still alive. She has divorced Joe and is married to Mark Landis, a lawyer working in the American occupation of Japan. She has a seven-year-old child named Anya.
To stay in Japan after his visitor's permit expires in 60 days, Joe wants to set up an airline freight franchise, but he needs financial backing. Through Ito, Joe meets Baron Kimura, former head of the Japanese secret police. Kimura offers to finance a small airline business that will carry frozen frogs for export to North and South America, even though Joe believes Kimura is going to use the airline as a front, carrying penicillin, saccharine, and pearls. But as the army hesitates in giving Joe permission to open the business, Kimura shows him proof from the Japanese secret police files that Trina worked broadcasting propaganda for the Japanese, a treasonable offense since she was a naturalized American citizen married to an American citizen. When Joe confronts Trina with this evidence, she explains that she made the broadcasts only to protect her newborn baby whom the Japanese took away from her when she was in Oyama prison camp. She reveals that she was pregnant when Joe deserted her, and that Anya is his daughter. Joe wants to back out of the airline deal, but Kimura demands that he go through with it. To save Trina, Joe accepts Kimura's proposal and convinces Mark Landis to help him start the airline business before his visitor's permit expires.
Joe then discovers through American occupation authorities that Kimura actually intends to smuggle in fugitive war criminals-former senior officers of the Imperial Japanese Army and the leader of the Black Dragon Society-to start a secret anti-American movement. The authorities plan to apprehend them when they land at Haneda Airfield. But Kimura finds out that Joe had met with the Americans, and before Joe flies to Korea, Kimura informs him that Anya has been kidnapped and will be freed only when the Japanese are delivered at a certain deadline. Joe picks up his passengers and is about to land them at the Army-designated airfield when the Japanese hijack the plane with guns and land at a different airstrip in Okuma. The US Army intercepts the Japanese before they can be driven away, as they had every airstrip on Honshu covered.
Back at the bar, Joe finds out from mortally wounded Ito that Anya is being held in a basement at the old hotel next door. Joe enters the dark cavern and finds Anya, but he is shot by Kimura as he carries Anya to safety. Arriving American soldiers kill Kimura. Joe, seriously wounded, is carried out on a stretcher.
From The Films of Humphrey Bogart:
The film was Sessue Hayakawa's first postwar project and served as a revitalization of his career. From 1937 to 1949, Hayakawa had been in France, first as an actor and then was caught up in the German occupation, living ostensibly as an artist, selling watercolors. After joining the French Resistance, he aided Allied flyers during the war. When Humphrey Bogart's production company tracked him down to offer him a role in Tokyo Joe, the American Consulate investigated Hayakawa's activities during the war before issuing a work permit.
Principal filming for Tokyo Joe took place from January 4 to the end of February 1949 on the Columbia Pictures studio lot, not on location in Tokyo, Japan. A second photographic unit was dispatched by Columbia to Tokyo to collect exterior scene shots and was the first movie company allowed to film in postwar Japan. The use of a Lockheed Hudson bomber converted into cargo hauling is featured with both interiors, and aerial sequences revolving around the aircraft.
The film fared well with the public as the subject of postwar Japan was an intriguing one featured in many of the headlines of the day. Most viewers were convinced that the film was a semi-documentary due to the extensive use of footage shot in Japan. The critics were less charitable, The New York Times contemporary review noted the juxtaposition of the footage as jarring: "a note of reality which is embarrassingly at odds with the major and markedly synthetic elements of the plot", further stating: "The big weakness of Tokyo Joe, however, is a script which does not neatly come together, but squanders its good points amidst a field of corn."
Tokyo Joe was released in VHS format for home viewing on August 17, 1989, by Columbia TriStar with a further DVD release in 2004.
Humphrey DeForest Bogart, colloquially nicknamed Bogie, was an American film and stage actor. His performances in classical Hollywood cinema films made him an American cultural icon. In 1999, the American Film Institute selected Bogart as the greatest male star of classic American cinema.
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Kintarō Hayakawa, known professionally as Sessue Hayakawa, was a Japanese actor and a matinée idol. He was a popular star in Hollywood during the silent film era of the 1910s and early 1920s. Hayakawa was the first actor of Asian descent to achieve stardom as a leading man in the United States and Europe. His "broodingly handsome" good looks and typecasting as a sexually dominant villain made him a heartthrob among American women during a time of racial discrimination, and he became one of the first male sex symbols of Hollywood.
Stray Dog is a 1949 Japanese film noir crime drama directed by Akira Kurosawa and starring Toshiro Mifune and Takashi Shimura. It was Kurosawa's second film of 1949 produced by the Film Art Association and released by Shintoho. It is also considered a detective movie that explores the mood of Japan during its painful postwar recovery. The film is also considered a precursor to the contemporary police procedural and buddy cop film genres, based on its premise of pairing two cops with different personalities and motivations together on a difficult case.
Tsuru Aoki was a Japanese stage and screen actress whose career was most prolific in the United States during the silent film era of the 1910s through the 1920s. Aoki may have been the first Asian actress to garner top billing in American motion pictures.
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Three Came Home is a 1950 American post-war film directed by Jean Negulesco, based on the memoirs of the same name by writer Agnes Newton Keith. It depicts Keith's life in North Borneo in the period immediately before the Japanese invasion in 1942, and her subsequent internment and suffering, separated from her husband Harry, and with a young son to care for. Keith was initially interned at Berhala Island near Sandakan, North Borneo but spent most of her captivity at Batu Lintang camp at Kuching, Sarawak. The camp was liberated in September 1945.
Body and Soul (1931) is an American Pre-Code action drama film directed by Alfred Santell and starring Charles Farrell, Elissa Landi, Humphrey Bogart, and Myrna Loy. The story, adapted from the stage play Squadrons by Elliott White Springs and A.E. Thomas, depicts Royal Air Force pilots in World War I.
Hell to Eternity is a 1960 American World War II film starring Jeffrey Hunter, David Janssen, Vic Damone and Patricia Owens, directed by Phil Karlson. This film biopic is about the true experiences of Marine hero Pfc. Guy Gabaldon, a Los Angeles Hispanic boy raised in the 1930s by a Japanese American foster family, and his heroic actions during the Battle of Saipan. Sessue Hayakawa played the role of Japanese commander at Saipan.
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The Dragon Painter is a 1919 English language silent romance drama film. It is based on the novel of the same name, written by Mary McNeil Fenollosa. It stars Sessue Hayakawa as a young painter who believes that his fiancée, is a princess who has been captured and turned into a dragon. It was directed by William Worthington and filmed in Yosemite Valley, Yosemite National Park, and in the Japanese Tea Garden in Coronado, California.
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The Swamp is a 1921 American silent drama film released by the Robertson-Cole Pictures Corporation and directed by Colin Campbell. The film was written and produced by Sessue Hayakawa, who also co-stars with Bessie Love. A print of this film is preserved at the Gosfilmofond archive in Moscow.
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The Call of the East is a 1917 American silent drama film directed by George Melford and written by Beulah Marie Dix. The film stars Sessue Hayakawa, Tsuru Aoki, Jack Holt, Margaret Loomis, James Cruze, and Ernest Joy. The film was released on October 15, 1917, by Paramount Pictures. It is not known whether the film currently survives, which suggests that it is a lost film.
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The Bravest Way is a 1918 American silent drama film directed by George Melford and written by Edith M. Kennedy. The film stars Sessue Hayakawa, Florence Vidor, Tsuru Aoki, Yukio Aoyama, Jane Wolfe, and Winter Hall. The film was released on June 16, 1918, by Paramount Pictures.
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