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Thursday, December 17, 2015

House Of Bamboo (1955)

A U.S. Army investigator (Robert Stack) working in Tokyo goes undercover and joins a gang of American racketeers with the aim of trapping them while committing a robbery. The head (Robert Ryan) of the gang takes a liking to the newcomer. Perhaps too much as it upsets his number one man (Cameron Mitchell). A remake of the 1948 film noir STREET WITH NO NAME but set in Japan. In fact, that film's screenwriter Harry Klein reworked the screenplay with an assist from the film's director, Samuel Fuller. This may be Fuller's best looking movie. Watching the film I was reminded of why I fell in love with the CinemaScope frame. Fuller and his ace cinematographer Joseph MacDonald (who also shot STREET WITH NO NAME) fill up the wide screen with carefully composed images and colors and not an inch wasted. The narrative is tight and allows for some nice performances, in particular Mitchell's jealous thug and a lovely performance by Shirley Yamaguchi as the widow of one of the gang members. With Sessue Hayakawa, Brad Dexter and Biff Elliot.

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