Monday, January 15, 2024

The Crimson Kimono (1959) starring James Shigeta, Glenn Corbett, Victoria Shaw

"YES, this is a beautiful American girl in the arms of a Japanese boy! What was his strange appeal to American girls?"

When ambitious stripper Sugar Torch gets gunned down in the streets before her big Vegas break, LA homicide detectives Joe Kojaku (James Shigeta) and Charlie Bancroft (Glenn Corbett) spring into action. Partners, roommates, Kendo combatants (!), and best friends, Joe and Charlie’s bromance dates back to the Korean War when sharpshooter Joe donated blood so his CO (Charlie) could get surgery. In other words, nothing can come between them. Except a DAME! 

While protecting Chris (Victoria Shaw), their only lead in the case, both Sensitive Joe and Gruff Charlie fall for the pretty artist. Sam Fuller wrote and directed this schizo but enjoyable look at postwar LA, racism, bromances, and identity issues, all wrapped around a fairly ho-hum murder mystery. 

Shigeta, of course, is immediately recognizable as DIE HARD’s Mr. Takagi while Corbett made a living as a tv guest star. The film also features tv’s Chief O’Hara (Stafford Repp) in an uncredited role along with Ana Lee (General Hospital’s Lila Quartermaine) as “Mac”, the boys’ boozy artist pal. — Dan Taylor

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