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The Crimson Kimono (1959)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Mystery | 5 May 1960 (Mexico)
Two detectives seek a stripper's killer in the Japanese quarter of Los Angeles, but a love triangle threatens their friendship.




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Won 1 Golden Globe. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Christine Downs
Det. Sgt. Charlie Bancroft
Det. Joe Kojaku
Paul Dubov ...
Jaclynne Greene ...
Neyle Morrow ...
Sugar Torch
Pat Silver ...
Mother (as Barbara Hayden)
George Yoshinaga ...
Willy Hidaka
Kaye Elhardt ...
Aya Oyama ...
Sister Gertrude
George Okamura ...
Charlie, karate teacher
Ryosho S. Sogabe ...
Priest (as Reverend Ryosho S. Sogabe)
Bob Okazaki ...
George Yoshinaga (as Robert Okazaki)


Classic, hard-to-find Sam Fuller pic is intriguing noir about two detective partners, one caucasian and one Japanese, who try to solve a complicated murder case. Unfortunately, trouble arises when along the way, both of them fall in love with the key witness! Written by Mark Toscano <fiddybop@uclink4.berkeley.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Yes, this is a beautiful American girl in the arms of a Japanese boy!



Parents Guide:






Release Date:

5 May 1960 (Mexico)  »

Also Known As:

Den blodrøde kimono  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


In Nov. 1959, Columbia Pictures distributed this film on a double bill with Battle of the Coral Sea (1959) starring Cliff Robertson. See more »


The final aerial shot pulling back from the streets of Los Angeles is running backwards, evidenced by the vehicle headlights all running backwards. See more »


Christine Downs: Were you ever in love with a man from a different world?
Mac: Ah, many, many times!
Christine Downs: Well, was he, uh, someone of a different race?
Mac: [pauses] There was a Hindu in Bombay...
Christine Downs: Was he sensitive about the difference between you?
Mac: [laughs] HE wasn't... but his father looked down his imperious nose at me.
See more »


Featured in The Typewriter, the Rifle & the Movie Camera (1996) See more »

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User Reviews

But down deep what am I?
18 November 2005 | by (Brooklyn NY USA) – See all my reviews

Very provocative movie, for the time that it was released in 1959, about a love triangle between two L.A detectives, one white and the other Japanese/American. With a young white female art student whom their protecting from an unknown killer.

After strip-tease artist Sugar Torch, Gloria Pall, finishes her act on stage she's shot at by an unknown assailant. Running for her life outside the theater on the crowded street, with nothing on but her underclothes, she's gunned down and killed. With Detctives Charles Bancroft & Joe Kojaku,Glenn Corbett & James Shigeta, put on the case they find in Sugar Torch's dressing room a painting of a her in a crimson kimono. The painting that the killer also shot a bullet through in anger. It was as if he knew who painted it.

The detectives track down the artist who painted the portrait to an art student at the University of Southern California named Christine Downs, Victoria Shaw. Christine, or Chris, tells Charles and Joe that the painting of Sugar Torch was commissioned by her boyfriend. A man who called himself Hansel, Neyle Morrow. The two L.A cops besides providing 24 hours around the clock protection of Chris from Sugar Torch's killer, who just missed shooting and killing her, go out on the streets canvassing the neighborhood, mostly L.A's Little Tokyo. Looking to find him and see what the people there know about Sugar's murder.

Both's Charles and Joe have been the best of friends since the Korean War. Joe saved Charles life on the battlefield by not only dragging back a seriously injured Charles to the safety of a MASH unit but also by donating a paint of his badly needed blood in order to keep him alive while he was being operated on. It never bothered them that they came from different backgrounds and are of different races all these years. Now, with Chris coming into their lives, things are about the change dramatically.

"Crimson Komino" goes from a police murder drama to a love triangle half-way through the movie. The All-American rough and tumble Charles Bancroft falls in love with ,the American as apple pie, Chris Downs only to have her fall for the more sensitive and artistic Japanese/American Joe Kojaku. Whom Chris, being an artist herself, has far more in common with. This leads Joe to feel very guilty and in a way embarrassed for stealing his best friends girlfriend who's not Japanese like himself.

As all this is happening the two cops begin to track down Hansel but the pent-up emotions that Joe is keeping inside him begins to come to the surface. In a Karate contest sponsored by the Little Tokyo neighborhood, that both Charles & Joe are entered in, leads to Joe almost killing Charles. This happens when Joe forgets the rules and smashed Charles head in after he was told to stop and back off by the contest referee.

In the dressing room Joe confesses that his being in love with Chris, and she with him,has made it impossible for him to be his partner Joe tells a shocked and confused Charles that he's turning in his badge since Joe feels that he can't do his job as a L.A policemen anymore. It's then when the truth comes out about Hansel who it turned out was involved in a similar situation and what he had, or had not, to do with Sugar Torch's murder. That put things into sharp focus for both Charles and Joe to not only who the killer is but why their sudden dislike and antagonism, towards each other over Chris, was nothing more then unfounded and irrational hate and ideas. Ideas that they had deep inside their minds that the racism,of both of them, blew way out of proportion.

"The Crimson Komino" is another hit, by cult director Samuel Fuller, that dared to show to the American public in 1959 what an inter-racial relationship can do to both parties who are not at all ready for it. Somewhat like the movie "Sayonara" but far more explosive and penetrating. And at the same time with a much happier ending.

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