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Joseph L. Mankiewicz
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>
"Tokyo Joe" from 1949 was the first film that was allowed to film in post-war Japan. Produced by Bogart's Santana Productions, it's just fair.
Bogart plays Joe Barrett, who returns to Japan after the war to start a business. While there, he discovers that his wife Trina (Florence Marly) is still alive. However, when he finds her, he discovers that she has divorced him and remarried a man named Mark Landis (Alexander Knox). Joe is determined to get her back and needs to extend his visa; he is approached by Baron Kimura (Sessue Hayakawa) who wants him to front an airline freight company for him. He would be importing frozen frogs. However, there is some additional freight, and for that, Kimura blackmails Joe by telling him what Trina was involved in during the war, which he will make public if Joe doesn't work with him.
This film bears a passing resemblance to Casablanca, and Bogart is clearly going through a transition which would lead to some of his greatest films and performances in the '50s. Rick of Casablanca is clearly pretty tired out. Being a small company, Santana Productions did not make big films or hire actors equal to Bogart, so the effect here is mediocre.
Florence Marly as Trina is a disaster - cold, very haughty looking, without much acting ability. It's impossible to see why Joe fell for her in the first place. She is no Ilse Lund, and she has no chemistry with Bogart. Her intentions are very unclear as well - as an actress, it doesn't look like she made any decisions about the character. Alexander Knox and Sessue Hayakawa are very good. Bogart, for my money, is always terrific.
Definitely worth seeing for the Japanese location and for Bogart. It's not horrendous, but considering that Bogart starred in so many classic films, it's not that good.
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