The Crimson Kimono - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Crimson Kimono Reviews

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½ August 20, 2016
The Sam Fuller Picture isn't like your average film. Somehow his scripts bluntly foreground societal issues that remain implicit or are completely ignored in other films. As a case in point, the Crimson Kimono zooms in on the Japanese-American experience by including James Shigeta as a homicide detective investigating the murder of a stripper who was recently painted wearing the titular kimono. Investigations take him and his white partner (and ex-war buddy) to the Little Tokyo section of Los Angeles. When Shigeta's character, Joe Kojaku, falls in love with a white witness (and vice versa), Fuller gets to tackle one of his favourite topics, racism, with a special look at how it feels to be an outsider. Things get complicated because the partner also loves the witness -- hence, tension is produced between the two men because of this love triangle. Fuller leaves the actual detective story aside (although it is finally resolved) to focus on the psychological experience of Kojaku and his relationships with his partner and the witness. Through it all, Kojaku is treated humanistically as a person, not as a symbol of his race or an object for scrutiny - his different culture is accepted by all of the characters and, in the end, he is the only one who perceives himself as different. All of the others treat him as an ordinary Joe. Fuller, too, is totally supportive of Japanese-Americans and particularly emphasizes their contribution to the war effort in the Forties. At the same time, he gives us a look at Japanese culture: a Kendo match, a Buddhist memorial ceremony, a festival (with parade), the artistry of dollmakers, and more. Kojaku even discusses the differences between the Nisei (first generation born in America) and Kibei (born in America but returned to Japan for their schooling before resettling in America) and the problems in dating between them! So, the merits of the Sam Fuller Picture are many, but don't choose his films because of their generic frameworks (i.e., the detective story), instead come for the two-fisted didactic discussion.
December 19, 2015
Interesting picture from writer/director Samuel Fuller about a Japanese LA police detective, James Shigeta (who modern audiences will know as Joe Takagi from "Die Hard") investigating the murder of a stripper who falls in love with a key witness, who happens to be a white woman. Takagi encounters racism from his white partner and other around him. The film lacks some focus, whether it wants to be about Takagi and the witness, Victoria Shaw, or if it wants to be about the murder mystery. Still, as with most Fuller films, even when the film isn't perfect, it's always interesting.
½ December 14, 2015
A cop thriller that makes subtle points on race relations by bringing in Japanese and Koreans. Give Fuller credit for telling a compelling story with under lying race issues.
December 6, 2015
another lost review on 1 of my favourite Sam Fuller movies
August 11, 2011
Dois detectives investigam o homicídio de uma stripper num bairro japonês: (C) esta a premissa pulp, supostamente descartável, que Samuel Fuller transforma num s (C)rie-B categórico, com todo o estilo, verve e coolness, que são habituais nos filmes do Mestre. Agrada-me especialmente o confronto de culturas (americana e japonesa) e a visão de um autor que, em 1959, já sabia perfeitamente situar a história num contexto de atrito racial, que dominou mil filmes de acção durante as d (C)cadas de 70, 80 e 90. Venha mais Fuller.
June 18, 2011
another good one from Fuller just rewatched and it is the best classic movie i've seen in a while the music fits the subject matter is really racey for its time well done and well handled by fuller a must see essential-oops stealing from those other guys:)
½ March 14, 2011
a typically Frank commentary on race by Samuel fuller. Well worth seeing and it's also a cop mystery thriller too.
February 8, 2011
Before there was Spike Lee, few recognized the uneasiness of discussing the subject of race-relations in America on film more than Sam Fuller.
February 8, 2011
A strong story which is well acted makes this 'b' movie crime thriller an interesting watch, especially as it has a lot of depth with the various sub-plot themes going on around the murder.
½ December 13, 2010
Rather solid and boundary pushing for its day, until it reaches the third act, where it all goes out the window. It's rather disappointing, as Fuller had made the transition from "murder mystery" to "love triangle drama" rather smoothly and effectively, but the resolution to the murder mystery is very sloppy. Especially when the "Mac" character appears out of nowhere for a few shots at he end. The acting is...OK, but Fuller is the real star here, his robust visuals aided by a very stark and no-nonsense cutting style.
November 30, 2010
Samuel Fuller's detective crime story serves as a vehicle to present an interracial love triangle in LA's Little Tokyo.
August 3, 2010
An odd movie. Part noir crime thriller, part love triangle, part racial issues movie. It handles all parts with some finesse, but it's the last that is the most striking. Fuller treats Japanese-Americans with a respect and dignity you don't see much of, even in today's films. Not a condescending stereotype in sight, even Asian music is incorporated into the score without a hint of caricature. Compared to the blunt and simplistic White Dog, it's amazingly deft and complex. James Shigeta, in his first role, is very very good, and Victoria Shaw does a decent job as well. Among the leads, Glenn Corbett is the weak link, not horrible but doesn't seem to match the quality of Shigeta's performance. There's also a fun supporting performance by Anna Lee. The film has a good deal of style and makes excellent use of Los Angeles locations. The editing is weird, though, and Fuller often "zooms" by simply enlarging a portion of the frame, which looks terrible. As a noir fan, I would preferred the crime story to play a more significant role in the story, but the sensitive handling of Japanese-American culture makes this film very worthwhile.
Super Reviewer
½ May 27, 2010
[font=Century Gothic]In "The Crimson Kimono", a stripper, Sugar Torch, is shot and killed on Main Street in Los Angeles. Since a witness cannot make a postive identifcation of the killer, the two detectives assigned to the case, Charlie Bancroft(Glenn Corbett) and Joe Kojaku(James Shigeta), have little to go on. The only clues they have are a painting in Sugar's dressing room and the knowledge that she was working on a Japanese themed act for Las Vegas. Kojaku talks to an martial arts acquaintance who was set to be featured in the act while Joe talks to a painter friend, Mac(Anna Lee).[/font]

[font=Century Gothic]"The Crimson Kimono" gets off to a good start and has memorable characters to spare but eventually the mystery takes a back seat to the personal lives of the lead characters. It does help that both halves of the movie dovetail nicely at the end. The movie is far ahead of its time in its depiction of the Asian-American community in general, and the Japanese-American community specifically. [/font]
½ January 9, 2010
Another tight Fuller crime film. The man was born for this style of movie, and he's one of the few directors who can hammer you over the head with a message and not annoy me. At any rate, you get snappy dialog, racial tension and a kick ass kendo fight.
½ November 13, 2009
One of the great noirs directed by Samuel Fuller, this film takes on race relations in a love triangle in which the heroine, a Caucasian, prefers a Japanese police officer to his Caucasian partner. The film follows the investigation of a murder of a night club dancer in Little Tokyo, with the love story nicely woven into the crime drama. Nice use of locations in Los Angeles and Little Tokyo and treatment of the racial issues.
½ October 19, 2009
A well shot and absorbing police drama with an interesting look at racial tension.
March 2, 2009
well umn just seen this movie 4 the 1st time n think that this is a good movie 2 watch..its an old black n white movie but its worth a watch...i think that victoria shaw, anna lee, paul dubbov, james shigeta play good parts throughout this movie its an enjoyable movie 2 watch...i think that the director of this Mystery & Suspense movie had done a good job of directing this movie because you never know what 2 expect throughout this movie..its a good 1950's movie 2 watch
February 19, 2009
i thought this was a pretty good exploration of race relations. i had no idea what to expect when i started watching it. at first it seemed to be a cop movie but it evolved into more than that. a nice surprise!
½ February 12, 2009
Easygoing leads goose along Fuller's surprisingly slack take on race and sex. L.A. location shooting is first-rate.
February 6, 2009
Perhaps a minor Fuller, but I think his execution here of race relations is strong, a bit stronger than the more acclaimed yet slightly disjointed Shock Corridor. While Fuller treats similar tensions in House of Bamboo in a more sophisticated manner, here he is on home soil, driving messages home that much more. Perhaps a bit more melodramatic than his other works, I still think this is a strong film that marks his attempts to unite various genres -- i.e., noir, crime, thriller, social and political criticism -- as crucial in late-50s mainstream cinema.
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