As part of Movie City Tokyo, FilmInFocus looks at a list of 10 diverse movies shot in Japan’s capital by Western filmmakers.
Slide 3: House of Bamboo (1955)
While Tokyo Joe was the first U.S. movie to be filmed in Japan, Samuel Fuller’s House of Bamboo became the first American movie shot in its entirety there. (Hollywood always resisted the cost of location shooting if “authenticity” could be faked on a soundstage.) The movie is a loose adaptation of the 1948 noir flick The Street with No Name, with Fuller moving that film’s story (the investigation of a spate of gang robberies) to Tokyo, which is shot for full effect in glorious Technicolor and in Cinemascope. The trailer boasts how the movie shows “the wonders of Fujiyama; seething, swarming modern Tokyo; the backstreets and waterways where mystery and intrigue lurk.” However, Fuller’s attempt at realism apparently did not meet the approval of the Japanese press, with one reviewer dismissing it as "strictly a commercial item trying to sell exoticism to an American audience using Japan as a stage and a Japanese actress....Its manner of completely ignoring Japanese habits, geography and sentiment makes us feel quite awkward."