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  • Humphrey Bogart's lesser watched films are so often passed by because the standard for Bogart films is so incredibly high. Is this film as great as "To Have and Have Not"? No it isn't. On the other hand I guarantee you it is more sophisticated and interesting to watch than 90% of the films that came out last year.

    People often seem to over look the unique virtues of this film as an interesting film in history. Coming so shortly on the heels of World War 2 one would expect to find a certain amount of racism towards the Japanese and yet (unlike slightly later films like Sayonara) it is almost devoid of any remarks of that kind.

    Humphrey Bogart is a superb actor as always as is the rest of the cast. The plot is well written and the direction style suited well to the film. Over all I highly recommend that anyone who wants a sharp and fun movie check this one out just don't expect it to be the classic that "Treasure of the Sierra Madre" or that one of the many other "classic" films he made was. It is nonetheless worth watching and, to my mind at least, quite a bit better than the cookie cutter system they use for suspense films now.
  • "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.
  • Several years ago I stumbled upon a 35 cent biography of Humphrey Bogart written shortly after his death. In it he comments on many of his films, including Tokyo Joe. "Utterly worthless picture" he noted. Many critics agree as they dismiss this piece of hokum about what happens when a former soldier returns to what was his "home town" before the war. Thing have changed. It is not the paradise it once was to him and it is certainly no "Rick's" Instead of "As Time Goes By" we hear "These Foolish Things," a better song but not nearly as famous.

    Tokyo Joe was made not long after Bogey had left Warner Brothers and it has more than a whiff of a "message picture" that strikes to find some meaning in postwar Tokyo. But like "House Of Bamboo" this film works not only as melodrama but as historical artifact of a period that is now forgotten. We don't think of the Japanese as a defeated power. Ever since the Honda Accord and the Toyota Camry started blowing away American competition we have thought of the Japanese as a superpower economically, not as a crippled defeated country. This film captures a mood that is rarely expressed in movies and it captures it with rather high production values. The rest of the cast isn't much but they play it straight and thus Tokyo Joe stands up even better after the initial viewing. The DVD transfer is very good and it remains a worthy addition to the Bogart canon.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    "Tokyo Joe" takes place in post WWII Tokyo, at a time when the city was still under marshal law and controlled by the American occupation forces.

    Joe Barrett (Humphrey Bogart), an ex pilot returns home to Tokyo. He goes to his now closed nightclub, "Tokyo Joe's" which he owned and operated with his partner Ito (Teru Shimada). Barrett learns from Ito that his wife Trina (Florence Marly) whom he believed to be dead, is alive and living nearby.

    Barrett rushes to meet her only to discover that she has divorced him and re-married businessman Mark Landis (Alexander Knox). Determined to win her back, Barrett looks for ways to extend his 60 day visitor's visa.

    Ito brings him to local Japanese "businessman", Baron Kimara (Sessue Hayakawa) who offers to finance a small freight airline which will carry food delicacies, such as frozen frogs into Japan for export abroad. When Barrett declines the offer, Shimara reveals that Trina had made propaganda broadcasts during the war for the Japanese. Trina explains that she had been coerced into making the broadcasts because the Japanese had taken her daughter from her. She tells Barrett that the seven year old Anya (Lora Lee Michael) is really his daughter.

    In order to be allowed to remain in the country, Barrett decides to accept Shimara's offer and hires two American crewmen, Danny (Jerome Courtland) and Idaho (Gordon Jones) to fly the airplane. Several shipments of frozen frogs later, Barrett suspects that Shimara is about to smuggle Japanese war criminals into the country. To ensure that Barrett carries out the mission, Shimara kidnaps Anya and..............................

    This was Bogart's second film made by his Santana production company for release by Columbia following the end of his Warner Bros. contract in 1948. Bogey gives his usual excellent performance although his ju-jitzu match (courtesy of stunt men) with Ito, is a little hard to imagine. Sessue Hayakawa had been around films since the early silents, but is probably best remembered for his role as the camp commandant in "The Bridge on the River Kwai" (1957). Alexander Knox who usually played sophisticated villains, is wasted here as Landis.

    Entertaining, but not among Bogie's best.
  • Satisfying Bogart vehicle has our hero as a veteran seeking to return to his prewar life in Tokyo as part-owner of a jazz bar ("Tokyo Joe's") and also as the husband of his former diva (Marley). Inconveniently, she's already divorced him and married a lawyer in the provisional government (Knox). In order to remain the country, Bogey starts an air freight service with some shady Yakuza types who eventually blackmail him into importing war criminals. The bait is his daughter, who he's just met.

    Very sentimental, with Bogart's performance dead on the mark and showing some sides of his persona which had not been explored before. Produced by Bogart's company, Santana Productions.
  • (There may be Spoilers) Pretty good Humphrey Bogart flick that has the distinction of being the first US made movie filmed in post-war Japan with a beautiful rendition of the song "These Foolish Things" sung by co-star and Bogie's love interest in the movie the exotic and hauntingly beautiful Florence Marly, Trina Pechinkov Landis, that rivals the song "As Time Goes By" in the Humphrey Bogart classic WWII movie "Casablanca".

    Joe Barrett, Humphrey Bogart, who owned a nightclub in Tokyo, the "Tokyo Joe Cabaret" before the outbreak of the war between Japan and the USA goes back after the war to start where he left off in the nightclub business. Discharged from the US Army Joe finds it almost impossible to have a business in Japan without the approval of the US Military Occupation Government and is given only a 60 day visa to stay in the country.

    Finding out from his friend and co-owner of the "Tokyo Joe" Ito, Teru Shimada, that he wife Trina, Florence Marly, and singer at the nightclub is alive not that she died during the war as Joe thought, makes Joe want to stay over his allowed 60 days. Joe is in for a big surprise when he finds out that Trina had married a top US lawyer working in Japan Mark Landis, Alexander Knox. Joe even more shocked when he finds out from Barom Klmura, Sesssue Hayakawa, an air freight owner whom Joe is fronting for to extend his visa that she also did propaganda broadcasts during the war for the Japanese government making her a traitor to America. Trina is an American citizen and libel to be prosecuted by the US Military Government in Japan.

    Things get far more complicated for Joe when he discovers that Trina has a seven year old girl Anya, Lora Lee Michel, who was born after Joe left her for the USA in 1941 and who he's the father of. The fact that Trina did broadcasts for the Imperial Japanese government was because they took Anya away from her as she, like all Americans stranded in Japan during the war, was thrown into a Japanese prison camp.

    While Joe is struggling with this dilemma his working for Kumura is unknowing helping him smuggle dangerous Japanese Communists and dreaded Black Dragon leaders into the country to start an open and bloody revolt against the occupying American Military Government.

    Better then you would expect Bogart film since it's almost unknown when you compare it to Bogie's many great movies.The movie also has one of the most exciting fight as well as shoot-out sequences you'll ever see in an Humphrey Bogart movie.

    The great photography of post-war Japan in the film as well as the fine cast make "Tokyo Joe" more then worth watching but the most intriguing thing about the movie is it's very interesting story-line that was in a way really prophetic. That had the Communists who were trying to overthrow the US installed democratic Japenese Government working out of South Korea. A country that was invaded by the North Korean Communist on June 25, 1950 a year after the movie "Tokyo Joe" was released.
  • Bogart is a former nightclub owner who returns to postwar Japan to pick up his life with a wife (Florence Marly) he had deserted, only to find that she had remarried and was the mother of his seven-year-old daughter…

    In the ensuing complications, Bogart is placed in a position where he must smuggle some Japanese war criminals back into Japan or his daughter will be killed…

    Bogart is much less convincing than in his "Across the Pacific" days, where he was also required to deal with villainous Japanese…

    For an actor who had belabored the point that he had been forced to do too many bad films because he had no control over the properties, it is disappointing to see him making extremely bad films now that he did have full control...
  • Picture Bogart's Richard Blaine character renamed Joe Barrett for this film. Instead of Casablanca, he's got a place in Tokyo just like Rick's named Tokyo Joe's. World War II interrupts things and he gets out of Japan and goes in the Army Air Corps where he spends a good deal of time bombing a lot of Japanese real estate. Including Tokyo which because of the wooden buildings pre World War II was particularly vulnerable to Curtis LeMay's incendiaries. It's a miracle, but his place survived intact and he'd like to resettle in Tokyo and pick up where he left off.

    Bogey gets an even better piece of news. His Ingrid Bergman who he married before the war and thought dead is alive. He goes to her and finds out she divorced him for reasons the plot really doesn't go into and is now married to a high civilian official with the American occupying authority, read MacArthur. That would be Alexander Knox in the Paul Henreid part and Ingrid, in this case Florence Marly has a daughter now.

    Still Bogey who would now like to make money as a civilian flier as well is being used at cross purposes by the American Army Intelligence and by some Japanese led by Sessue Hayakawa who haven't adjusted to losing the war.

    Tokyo Joe follows in plot lines laid out by Casablanca, but it sure treads softly in those giant footsteps. It was nice to see Sessue Hayakawa appear for the first time in an American film since silent days. He became a star in the early silent era in Cecil B. DeMille's The Cheat and left for Japan with the coming of sound where he stayed a popular film star right through World War II.

    Hayakawa came here for Tokyo Joe. Other than establishing newsreel shots, this whole production was done on Columbia's back lot. Humphrey Bogart gives it the old Casablanca try, but he must have been wondering why he left Warner Brothers he was certainly doing a lot of the same stuff over at his home studio.
  • "Tokyo Joe" from 1949 was the first film that was allowed to film in post-war Japan. Produced by Bogart's Santana Productions, it's just fair.

    Bogart plays Joe Barrett, who returns to Japan after the war to start a business. While there, he discovers that his wife Trina (Florence Marly) is still alive. However, when he finds her, he discovers that she has divorced him and remarried a man named Mark Landis (Alexander Knox). Joe is determined to get her back and needs to extend his visa; he is approached by Baron Kimura (Sessue Hayakawa) who wants him to front an airline freight company for him. He would be importing frozen frogs. However, there is some additional freight, and for that, Kimura blackmails Joe by telling him what Trina was involved in during the war, which he will make public if Joe doesn't work with him.

    This film bears a passing resemblance to Casablanca, and Bogart is clearly going through a transition which would lead to some of his greatest films and performances in the '50s. Rick of Casablanca is clearly pretty tired out. Being a small company, Santana Productions did not make big films or hire actors equal to Bogart, so the effect here is mediocre.

    Florence Marly as Trina is a disaster - cold, very haughty looking, without much acting ability. It's impossible to see why Joe fell for her in the first place. She is no Ilse Lund, and she has no chemistry with Bogart. Her intentions are very unclear as well - as an actress, it doesn't look like she made any decisions about the character. Alexander Knox and Sessue Hayakawa are very good. Bogart, for my money, is always terrific.

    Definitely worth seeing for the Japanese location and for Bogart. It's not horrendous, but considering that Bogart starred in so many classic films, it's not that good.
  • This could have been a great movie. Post World War II location movies have an intriguing atmosphere. Post-war Japan offered a terrific setting, but the obvious backlot location, with cheesy process shots trying to pass for a Japanese location, ruins the effect.

    Alexander Knox is great, sardonic but principled, and Sessue Hayakawa is deliciously malign. Florence Marly is a poor substitute for Lisbeth Scott -- or couldn't Bogey get his own wife Lauren Bacall to work for scale? Bogey himself looks a little shopworn. Even the love child is fat-faced and unappealing.

    Compromise pervades the film, from the cardboard sets to the hack director. Because it was cheap, exterior shots were minimal, and so the action scenes, which could have made for a more exciting story, give way to lots of talky interior stuff.

    As the studio system weakened, star-owned production companies, like Bogart's, Burt Lancaster's and Alan Ladd's, were in vogue. Stars can't resist the chance to star in a movie where they don't have to take direction, so they often hire weak directors, usually with dismal results. This is one of them.
  • Definitely one of the lesser Humphrey Bogart movies, this one has a strong beginning and end, but the middle gets pretty boring and causes the movie to drag. I really enjoyed the scenes with Bogart and Lora Lee Michel, who plays his daughter. Bogart's performance is, as always, very good, but the story didn't really interest me until the last 20 minutes or so of the movie. I would only recommend TOKYO JOE to fans of Bogart, such as myself.

  • kyle_furr9 March 2004
    For die-hard Bogart fans only, and I'm sure that they probably won't like it either, just like me. It stars out with Bogart going into Japan and has only sixty days before he has to leave. He goes to a bar he used to own before the war and it is now run by a friend of his. He also wants to find his wife but he finds out that she divorced him and is married again and has a daughter, and then he finds out the girl is his. Then the plot has him running an airline that is just a front for something illegal. Bogart was blackmailed into running the airline because it turns out his wife was forced into using propaganda against the Americans and she had to because they took her kid. The plot is a load of crap and the only good thing in here is Bogart. Watch one of Bogart's better films instead.
  • HarryLags15 February 2017
    Bogart is a former nightclub owner who returns to postwar Japan to pick up his life with a wife (Florence Marly) he had deserted, only to find that she had remarried and was the mother of his seven-year-old daughter...

    In the ensuing complications, Bogart is placed in a position where he must smuggle some Japanese war criminals back into Japan or his daughter will be killed... Then the rest is resistance and heroism, courage and back-fighting. Humphrey Bogart cuts the character quite convincingly and gives us an interesting thriller.

    Conclusion - Humphrey Bogart is excellent in this film, but it has no other characters of note. This keeps Tokyo Joe from being a classic, in my opinion. However, it's still enjoyable and worth watching... Rated this 7/10
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Joe Barrett sure knows how to woo 'em.

    Humphrey Bogart made some doozies in the late Forties and early Fifties. He liked to keep working, but either he or his agent had some lousy taste: Chain Lighting (1950). Sirocco (1951). Battle Circus (opposite June Allyson, no less) (1953). Tokyo Joe fits right in. It's not just that these movies are hackwork, but Bogart's iconic mug is showing his age. He was 50 when he made Tokyo Joe. He can snarl, threaten, sneer and go wooing with the best, better, in fact, than the best, but it's Silly Symphonies when he undertakes judo or throws more than one or two punches.

    With Tokyo Joe we're not just talking stunt doubles. Every shot in Tokyo with a guy in a trench coat wearing a hat where we can't see a face is a fake Bogart. There are a lot of them. Every shot of Bogart facing the camera with Tokyo in the background is just Bogart on a Hollywood sound stage with backscreen projection. There are a lot more of these. All that backscreen stuff is handled carelessly.

    Like most strong actors, Bogart worked best, in my opinion, when he had strong actors to react with. Tokyo Joe doesn't give him much. Florence Marly is the love interest. She's beautiful, but so icy she could give your lips frostbite. Alexander Knox (Mark Landis), who competes for Florence Marly, was a fine actor, but always so civilized, often stuffy, sometimes weak.

    What's it all about? Bogie as Joe Barrett returns to Tokyo right after fighting in the last good war to check on the gambling bar, Tokyo Joe's, which he used to own. He'd always felt Tokyo was his home. It's a sad homecoming. The woman he'd married, Trina Pechinkov (Marly), a White Russian émigré in Japan, he'd heard was dead. Instead, she'd been imprisoned. But now she's remarried to Occupation big shot Mark Landis...and she has a daughter. You guessed it, the child is Bogie's and he hadn't known. He wants Trina back. He hooks up with Baron Kimura (Sessue Hayakawa) to start a two-bit freight airline so he can stay in Tokyo and woo Trina away from Landis. From now on we're going to be in a world of deceit, the importing of Japanese war criminals back to Japan, of Bogart wearing a leather flight jacket, fist fights, bowing and ah so-ing, corny patriotic speeches, a precocious child who gets kidnapped...and sacrifice designed to bring a tear or two. The tension between Bogart and Alexander Knox is non-existent. So are the love sparks between Bogart and Marly. Sessue Hayakawa (who was a huge silent screen star in American movies) has a Japanese accent when he speaks his English lines that is so thick it's sometimes difficult to understand the full extent of the Baron's evil plans.

    That leaves just Bogart to carry the film. He nearly does it...he wasn't Hollywood's most iconic movie star for nothing. (At best, the top icon probably would be a three-way tie with Bogart, Cary Grant and Mickey Mouse.) He even manages to make us forget the tyke he shares some scenes with. On balance, you'll enjoy Bogart, but Tokyo Joe is a movie to keep low on your list of Bogart movies to watch.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    "Tokyo Joe" was one of the first pictures made by Humphrey Bogart's production company, Santana. While it is impressive in that it was the first film to be shot in post-war Japan (no doubt thanks to Bogarts' popularity), it is a weaker, lesser, tedious film. The plot is all too familiar, there is not a really good supporting cast, and Bogart appears to be sleepwalking thru this all to familiar character.

    The most ridiculous parts being where Bogart is practicing his Judo. His stunt double looks nothing like him.

    Nothing offensive about this film, other than it's blandness. Pass on this one.

    5 out of 10
  • Did like the idea for the story, not an original concept but an intriguing one. Tokyo is a lovely location and an inspired and interesting one for this kind of film. The main reason for seeing the film was for me Humphrey Bogart, one of the best actors at that time (especially in the hard-edged kind of roles that require intensity) and it's most evident in one of the finest and most iconic screen performances there's ever been as Rick Blaine in the timeless 'Casablanca'.

    'Tokyo Joe' is not one of Bogart's best though. If anything it's somewhere in the weaker end. Bogart himself is one of the best things about it actually and the main reason for anybody to see it, and some of the supporting cast are good. The problems were the female lead, the script, some of the story and direction, all of which heavily flawed. All of that will be elaborated upon soon. 'Tokyo Joe' is a long way from a bad film, but considering how interesting the story sounded and how good an actor Bogart was it could have been a lot more.

    Good things are quite a lot. The best thing about it is Bogart, who brings his usual authority and hard-boiled intensity to a role that suits him perfectly. Also good are an appealing Alexander Knox and especially a sinister Sessue Hayakawa (Kimura is one formidable threat). Lora Lee Michel is cute without being overly so and her chemistry with Bogart is touching.

    It is a stylishly and atmospherically photographed film too, the production values in general had an authentic grit. The first half an hour was very intriguing but it was the last twenty minutes and the climax where the film hit its stride and became exciting and had the edge that was missing in the middle. There is some intriguing scripting early on and when the film comes alive finally. Suitably ominous music from George Anthell as well.

    Florence Marly however brings things down significantly, her performance isn't just bland and uncharismatic. At its worst, it was pretty inept. There is no chemistry between her and Bogart, which always looked awkward and distant, and her character is pretty sketchy. The rest of the supporting cast other than those already mentioned are fairly forgettable in come and go roles. The direction had its moments towards the end, but is generally undistinguished and doesn't bring out enough of the tension needed for such a story.

    While not without its moments, the script could have been tighter on the whole with it tending to be bogged down by talk of the waffling kind. It could have done with more edge and purpose. The story starts off well and ends even better but what happens in between is rather derivative, with no real surprises, and at times drawn out when the story is especially thin. Some of the rear projection is obvious in a somewhat phony way.

    Overall, decent but could have been a lot more. 5.5/10 (was very conflicted on what rating to give between the two)
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Minor Spoilers

    In a post-war Tokyo, with Japan totally dominated by the USA occupation forces, the American Joseph 'Joe' Barrett (Humphrey Bogart) lands in the Haneda Airforce Base, trying to return to his small business in the nightclub, cabaret, restaurant and casino Tokyo Joe. His former Japanese partner and friend Ito (Teru Shimada) has administrated and kept the place working during the war. When they meet each other, Ito tells him that Joe's wife Trina Pechinkov Landis (Florence Marly), supposed dead, is still alive. Joe goes to her address, and finds that Trina is married with the American Mark Landis (Alexander Knox), and she had a daughter with Joe called Anya (Lora Lee Michel). Joe decides to stay in Tokyo, trying to retrieve the love of Trina, but due to the difficulties in obtaining a visa, he opens a small transportation business, buying an old plane, hiring three pilots and accepting to transport the load of a powerful man, Baron Kimura (Sessue Hayakawa). However, he finds that the reason of being of the transportation was to smuggle stowaways. Further, Kimura has Trina in his hands, since she broadcasted for the Imperial Japanese government in the war to protect her daughter. Meanwhile, Kimura kidnaps Anya, to squeeze Joe. Pressed by the military forces, who wants him to leave the country, and by Kimura, Joe tries to save Anya from the hands of Kimura. Although not being a bad movie, "Tokyo Joe" is certainly the worst film of Humphrey Bogart that I have ever watched. One interesting point in this movie is the situation of Japan in those times, and the progress of this admirable people in some decades, being one of the most powerful nations of the world since the end of the last century. Anyway, I am a great fan of Humphrey Bogart, my favorite actor ever, and it was worthwhile for me to know this movie. My vote is six.

    Title (Brazil): "Tóquio Joe" (" Tokyo Joe")
  • froberts7318 June 2011
    His company produced it, he starred in it, but Bogie didn't like it. Still, in my most humble opinion, "Tokyo Joe" is a helluva good movie, and Bogart is Bogart and that's good enough for me. This is an action thriller with a 'keeps-you-glued-to-the-screen' plot.

    It was made just after the end of WW2 when Americans were the occupying troops, hanging around, as Bogie notes, "to help the people get back on their feet." We did a helluva good job - witness the automobile showrooms around the world. I'm certainly not complaining. I've been driving Toyotas for a few decades.

    Those around Bogie, including a hassle of Japanese actors, were quite good - oh - and Bogie spoke most credible Japanese -- I guess.

    Czech actress, Florence Marly, who was busy acting mostly in her home country, is very attractive, but the individual that really impressed was 7-year-old Lora Lee Michel who made a lot of films but, at this writing, no one knows what happened to her, not even her sister. She was button cute and convincing in a Margaret O'Brien sort of way.

    All in all, I can easily recommend "Tokyo Joe." It's a helluva lot better than most of today's schlock which rely on dazzling special effects.
  • Although this movie is not one of Humphrey Bogart's more noted projects, it is a good movie. At first the plot seems absurd but as the story unfolds it becomes more comprehensible. It is hard to imagine that there was a time when the United States actually occupied Japan and directly supervised the Japanese people. It was another era, when the United States was in every sense of the term the dominant power. Once again Humphrey Bogart believes that he has been jilted by a woman and once again finds out that there is more to the story, and in this movie, this scenario works well. Alexander Knox is great as the other main male character but it is Sessue Hayakawa who once again delivers a strong performance as a shady, underworld figure in post-war Japan. This movie is worth watching.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    The setting for 'Tokyo Joe' is more interesting than the plot. It takes place in Japan not long after the second world war, during the American occupation. The country is being rebuilt, but times are still tough; at one point, we see Humphey Bogart's character toss a cigarette butt to the sidewalk and several people dive to retrieve it. In what is definitely one of Bogie's lesser vehicles, the story is confusing and at times it's hard to know exactly what Joe Barrett's (Bogart) motivations are. A colonel in WW2, Barrett had also owned a nightclub (shades of Casablanca) in Japan and returns after a few years to see what became of it. He finds it still operating but is frustrated at the amount of American red tape he must go through to re-establish himself as the owner. Then he discovers that his Russian-born wife Trina, whom he thought dead, is alive and remarried to a wealthy businessman named Mark Landis. At first, he is furious and determined to get Trina back, but when he discovers she has a daughter, his daughter no less, his mood softens. Then he meets with a shady Japanese underworld figure to front a small air freight company... Barrett will fly the plane and ask no questions about the cargo. The Japanese crime boss says they will export frozen frogs to North and South America. I'm serious. There is even a point later in the film when crates are being loaded onto a plane and one of them is dropped and comes open. We expect to see guns or drugs spilled out but sure enough, it's a bunch of frozen frogs. Barrett says to hurry and get them loaded before they spoil. Bleccch. Anyway, that's about all you need to know about the plot. Eventually, Barrett is ordered to bring three Japanese baddies, former bigwigs from the war, back to Japan from Korea so they can stir up trouble. An elaborate (well, fairly elaborate) sting operation is set up by American authorities and the plan is thwarted. I wonder how many Bogart pictures tried to copy 'Casablanca' either in part of in whole; 'Tokyo Joe' certainly would be one of them. There is the tragic former romance, the smoky nightclub and requisite mood music ('These Foolish Things' weaves in and out of the picture), the exotic locale and even a Paul Henreid-ish character in Alexander Knox's Mark Landis. Humphrey Bogart gives an adequate performance, lending credibility to scenes and plot devices that don't really deserve it. 'Tokyo Joe' is something of a curiosity, a time-capsule worth a look.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I wonder if Humphrey Bogart ever traveled to Japan. Sure, the film is set there and much of it was filmed there, but in practically ever scene you see Bogart, it either was filmed in a studio or he appears to be acting in front of a projected image. So, it seems that they shot the backgrounds with one film unit and superimposed Bogie onto the backgrounds repeatedly. It is pretty noticeable and makes the film seem a tad cheap.

    The film finds Bogart coming to Japan just after the war. He claims he is there to try to reopen a business he'd left behind when the war broke out--a bar. But, it's obvious that the US military (who is in charge of Japan at this point in history) is keeping Bogart ('Joe') under surveillance. When Joe finally does make his way to the closed bar, he meets with his old Japanese partner (Teru Shimada--who you may remember as a villain from YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE) for a stupid reunion scene (you just have to see it to know what I mean). It soon becomes apparent that Joe and his old friends were not so much bar owners but running their own black market business--and Bogie is there to start it up once again--along with a new partner (Sessue Hayakawa).

    There is a side plot as well. Before the war, Joe was involved with a Russian lady who lived in Japan (Florence Marly) and thought she'd been killed in the war. However, when he finds her after all these years he finds that she's married and with a child...HIS child! What to do, what to do? This film finds Bogart in a more sedate role. Later in his career, he often was less of the action hero or tough guy. While he is a bit seedy here, the is not the sort to shoot or beat up people in TOKYO JOE--and many who want that super-manly Bogie may be disappointed. He made several films like this, such as SIROCCO and LEFT HAND OF GOD--all decent films but with a much more sedate sort of anti-hero. Now considering the actor's age, this sort of transition wasn't that bad an idea though they are far from his best films.
  • jonerogers24 December 2018
    Well here we are again With Bogart and its now post war and another seedy bar. Bogart seems to be in a few films pre and post war and we cannot forget that a lot of his films were shot during the war and of course the content would be influenced by this. Once again a seedy bar and this time its in Post war Tokyo, Bogart is a part owner and has returned to pick up where he left off. This is not how he left it, for one his former wife has divorced him and remarried. Bogart is excited to learn she is still alive as he had thought her dead. He rushes to see her only to find this fact out and vows to win her back.

    problem is that he only has 60 days to do this before he is booted out, he seeks employment and is hoodwinked/Blackmailed into dodgy dealings importing dodgy 'goods' a lot is thrown into the melting pot with added news that he is a father.

    A nice post war film and Bogart is on key with some great acting alongside the very sharp faced Florence Marly...a relatively unknown Actress in my eyes and you would remember her just by her accent and sharp face.

    a great film, slow burner but a Film-Noir all the same.
  • iquine24 December 2018
    Warning: Spoilers
    (Flash Review)

    A few years after WWII, Joe (Bogart) returns to a different Japan than the one he knew before when he had a night club with a Japanese partner and a wife whom he abruptly left before the war. We quickly learn she has remarried without his consent. Joe's visa only lasts 60 days. Not sure he can win her back in time, he finds a job quickly so he remain in Japan longer; a sketchy and risky job. One with a boss who has knowledge that his wife had made treasonous propaganda broadcasts so he uses that as leverage to ensure Joe doesn't back out of his risky job. Can he win her back while avoiding arrest? This film had excellent and CRISP black and white film stock with sharp scene framing. Bogart smoothly carries yet another film.
  • Of the several films featuring Humphrey Bogart as a cynical loner involved in shady business in exotic climes, Tokyo Joe, along with Sirocco, ranks among the weakest. The plot looks like a weary attempt to reprise the magic of Casablanca – a doomed romance disrupted by World War II but rekindled, violent intrigue among different factions within an occupied nation. (It also anticipates parts of Samuel Fuller's House of Bamboo.)

    Before the war, Bogart ran a bar and gambling house on the Ginza called Tokyo Joe's, which he left to serve honorably in the U.S. Army. He returns to occupied Japan, ostensibly to start up his business again. But his chief mission is to locate the wife he left behind (Florence Marly, who expunges no memories of Ingrid Bergman). She has divorced Bogart and remarried (to Alexander Knox, now a prominent official); she also has a daughter – Bogart's daughter.

    The reluctant Bogart is blackmailed into running a small air-freight company by crime lord Sessue Hayakawa: during the war, Marly had been forced to make Tokyo-Rose broadcasts to American troops. Though the flights to Korea ostensibly ship out frozen frogs (that's right – frozen frogs), on their return they disgorge exiled officers of the Imperial Army in a Communist-inspired plot to destabilize Japan. The U.S. occupying forces get wind of the plan and flip Bogart into delivering the war criminals into their hands, but Hayakawa has kidnapped his daughter....

    Not quite dreadful, Tokyo Joe is so derivative and half-hearted that it squanders any good will we might have brought to it; when the only way it can think to come to a close is by dint of trumped-up tragedy that drags in the little girl to pluck at our heartstrings, it approaches insolence – or travesty.
  • Humphrey Bogart has been my favorite screen actor for over three decades now, so "Tokyo Joe"--one of the few Bogeys that I'd never seen--was a film that I anxiously put at the top of my list of DVDs to rent. Well, as I suspected, this is a decidedly lesser Bogey picture, but one that still offers much to even the casual viewer. In this one, Bogey portrays Joe Barrett, ex-owner of a nightclub on the Ginza. After WW2, he returns to Tokyo, and becomes involved in smuggling to save his ex-wife (who he thought had died) as well as his 6-year-old daughter (who he never knew existed). Bogey is well suited to this character, who at first looks after only himself but who soon sacrifices much for the sake of those near to him. The film features a compact, sensible story and is well acted by all. Czech actress Florence Marly, who plays Bogart's ex-wife, is quite attractive and acts impeccably; it's a shame she didn't appear in more American films. Sessue Hayakawa (unmustachioed, for a change) makes for a formidable villain, and it's fun to see Whit Bissell and Hugh "Ward Cleaver" Beaumont appear in scenes with the great Bogart. Teru Shimada (so memorable as Mr. Osato in my favorite Bond film, "You Only Live Twice") is fine as Bogart's partner, and little Lora Lee Michael and Bogey share some cute, sweet scenes together. And, like "As Time Goes By" did for "Casablanca" and "Too Marvelous For Words" did for "Dark Passage," here, "These Foolish Things" runs through the picture like a sweet, sad perfume. Thus, "Tokyo Joe," minor Bogey that it is, is still preferable to some other lesser Bogart films, such as "Battle Circus" and "Chain Lightning." And it is, needless to say, required viewing for all Bogey completists.
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