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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 <email@example.com>
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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