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Frederick De Cordova
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Joe Barrett returns to Tokyo after World War II where he once owned a bar, Tokyo Joe's, and deserted his wife Trina. They have a seven-year-old daughter. Kimura forces Joe into piloting war criminals by revealing that during the war Trina made treasonous propaganda broadcasts. Written by
Ed Stephan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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.
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