Tokyo Joe (1949)

Approved   |    |  Crime, Drama, Film-Noir


Tokyo Joe (1949) Poster

An American returns to Tokyo try to pick up threads of his pre-WW2 life there, but finds himself squeezed between criminals and the authorities.


6.3/10
1,896

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24 July 2005 | bill-790
6
| Bogart action less than outstanding but worth a look.
"Tokyo Joe" is rightly called a "lesser Bogart effort." In fact, there is much in this film that obviously derives from earlier Bogart classics, especially "Casablanca." However, this Santana production/Columbia release is by no means without its interesting points. I would point to Alexander Knox's performance in a supporting role, for one. Sessue Hayakawa, as the old fascist surviver, is also good.

On the other hand, Florence Marly is pretty weak as the love interest and the plot is somewhat routine. The main plot problem is the Bogart/Marly relationship. There is just too much resemblance to the relationship between Rick and Ilsa in "Casablanca." When you add in Marly's unconvincing performance, the chances of a having a first-rate film are slim. I must also add, reluctantly, that Bogie seems to be walking through this role, much as he did in another Santana film, "Sirocco" (1951).

That brings me to my final point. Bogart had started Santana Productions in about 1948. "Knock On Any Door" was the company's first effort, and it was somewhat popular at the time. "Tokyo Joe" was the second Santana production. As a small start-up independent production company, Santana did not have a stable of outstanding actors to call upon. Perhaps that is why they had to make due with a Florence Marly instead of a top female lead to go opposite Bogart.

It's also true that "Chain Lightning," 1950, Bogie's next to last Warner Bros. release, wasn't so hot. Maybe the era of the tough but decent Bogart character had simply run its course.

I might add here that the third Santana production was "In a Lonely Place," 1950, one of Humphrey Bogart's best, though perhaps most under-appreciated, films.

Give "Tokyo Joe" a try. It's no world beater, but I have watched it several times, and still find it entertaining.

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