Sunday, March 23, 2014

Tokyo Joe (1949)

Tokyo Joe (1949)

At the Capitol

Published: October 27, 1949

Coming to bat for the second time as an independent producer-actor. Humphrey Bogart has a picture which sputters more than it sizzles in "Tokyo Joe," which opened yesterday at the Capitol. Lively stretches of rough and tumble adventure in post-war Japan give the wild, incredible plot a certain measure of excitement, but not enough to compensate for the unbecoming romantic mooning that Mr. Bogart does to the haunting refrain of "These Foolish Things Remind Me of You."
The melodramatic nip-ups in "Tokyo Joe" might have been easier to swallow had the story been presented as an unabashed fiction. But the Army of Occupation figures quite prominently—and not a little foolishly at times—in the proceedings, thereby introducing a note of reality which is embarrassingly at odds with the major and markedly synthetic elements of the plot.
Without further delay, however, it should be mentioned that Mr. Bogart has found a new and exciting leading lady in Florence Marly. The low whistles which came from the upper reaches of the Capitol when Miss Marly made her sultry appearance on the screen signified the arrival of a personality who captured the fancy of the gallery gods. They didn't wait to see whether she could act, but we are happy to pass along word that Miss Marly qualifies in that respect, too.
Returning to Japan to resume operation of his pre-war gambling joint (Tokyo Joe's), Joe Barrett finds the Army doesn't want him around, that the wife he walked out on back in 1941 and believed to be dead is alive and married. Right off, Joe tells Trina and her husband that he's going to get her back. In order to accomplish this mission it seems that he has to stay around Tokyo. To do that he has to have some good reason that the Army will approve, and it seems that the former head of the Japanese secret service can fix it by financing Joe in an air freight operation. Before too long Joe is really in a pickle, for he discovers that Baron Kimura has a secret, incriminating file on Trina and that, moreover, the airline is set up to smuggle some notorious war criminals back into the country.
The more involved the story gets the less credible it becomes and the more one's interest wanders from the picture. Mr. Bogart is, of course, full of vinegar when the going is tough, but he's pretty poor company when he's alone with his memories. Alexander Knox gives a competent performance as the occupation official who married Trina on the rebound. Sessue Hayakawa, long absent from the Hollywood scene but a prominent personality in the dim past, plays the Baron with what might be described as typical Japanese malevolence. 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.
Lena Horne heads the Capitol's stage show, which also presents Gil Maison, The Dunhills and 'Skitch' Henderson and orchestra.

TOKYO JOE, based on a story by Steve Fisher; adaptation by Walter Doniger; screen play by Cyril Hume and Bertram Millhauser; directed by Stuart Heisler; produced by Robert Lord; a Santana production; presented by Columbia Pictures.
Joe Barrett . . . . . Humphrey Bogart
Mark Landis . . . . . Alexander Knox
Trina . . . . . Florence Marly
Baron Kimura . . . . . Sessue Hayakawa
Danny . . . . . Jerome Courtland
Idaho . . . . . Gordon Jones
Ito . . . . . Teru Shimada
Kanda . . . . . Hideo Mori
General Ireton . . . . . Charles Meredith
Colonel Dahlgren . . . . . Rhys Williams
Anya . . . . . Lora Lee Michel
Nani-San . . . . . Kyoko Kamo
Kamikaze . . . . . Gene Gondo
Major Loomis . . . . . Harold Goodwin
M. P. Captain . . . . . James Cardwell
Truck Driver . . . . . Frank Kumagal
Takenobu . . . . . Tetsu Koma
Hara . . . . . Otto Han
Goro . . . . . Yosan Tsuruta

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