As part of Movie City Tokyo, FilmInFocus looks at a list of 10 diverse movies shot in Japan’s capital by Western filmmakers.
Slide 2: Tokyo Joe (1949)
This Humphrey Bogart vehicle was the first Hollywood film to be shot in Japan following World War II. That said, only exteriors were shot by a B-unit who were dispatched to Tokyo, while the majority of the action was shot on the Columbia lot. Director Stuart Heisler’s movie seems to draw heavily on Casablanca: Bogart’s Joe Barrett returns to Tokyo to see what became of the bar he once owned there, discovers his lost love is alive but with another man, and must outsmart a local gangster who is trying to smuggle war criminals. Bogart’s gangster nemesis was played by Sessue Hayakawa, a Japanese actor who lived in France between 1937 and 1949, first working as an actor, then as a painter, and who helped the Allies during World War II as part of the French underground. Hayakawa, who also appeared in Samuel Fuller’s House of Bamboo (also discussed in this article), became most famous as Colonel Saito in The Bridge on the River Kwai, a role for which he was Oscar-nominated.