Two detectives seek a stripper's killer in the Japanese quarter of Los Angeles, but a love triangle threatens their friendship.


Samuel Fuller


Samuel Fuller
Won 1 Golden Globe. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Victoria Shaw ... Christine Downs
Glenn Corbett ... Det. Sgt. Charlie Bancroft
James Shigeta ... Det. Joe Kojaku
Anna Lee ... Mac
Paul Dubov ... Casale
Jaclynne Greene ... Roma
Neyle Morrow ... Hansel
Gloria Pall ... Sugar Torch
Pat Silver Pat Silver ... Mother (as Barbara Hayden)
George Yoshinaga George Yoshinaga ... Willy Hidaka
Kaye Elhardt Kaye Elhardt ... Nun
Aya Oyama Aya Oyama ... Sister Gertrude
George Okamura George Okamura ... Charlie
Ryosho S. Sogabe Ryosho S. Sogabe ... Priest (as Reverend Ryosho S. Sogabe)
Bob Okazaki 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 <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


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


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Did You Know?


One of the few films of its era that actually used Asians in Asian roles. Even more remarkable, one of the lead actors involved in the interracial love triangle, James Shigeta, was, in fact, Japanese, rather than a Caucasian actor made up to look Asian. See more »


In the final scenes in which Joe, Chris, and Charlie are making up, Mac is not present; however, she is with the group when they race from the restaurant in pursuit of Hansel. In the next shot, as they enter the doll show, Mac is again gone. Then, when the pursuit goes back to the streets, Mac and Chris are racing through the crowd holding hands. See more »


[first lines]
Det. Joe Kojaku: [continuing the interrogation in the police's murder investigation] Did she have a Japanese boyfriend?
Casale: I told you, I never mixed in her personal business.
Det. Sgt. Charlie Bancroft: What did you have against her?
Casale: Who said I had anything against her? She was shifty as smoke, but I liked her.
Det. Sgt. Charlie Bancroft: [about the shooter] Then why didn't you try and stop him when he went for her with a gun?
Casale: Ahhh, I didn't like her that much!
See more »

Crazy Credits

During the main titles, the painting begins as a simple pencil outline. As the credits progress, more details are subtly added via dissolves until it is finally completed at the end of the sequence. See more »


References Danryû (1957) See more »


Music by Kôsaku Yamada
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User Reviews

You don't have to, it's all over your face.
13 February 2011 | by hitchcockthelegendSee all my reviews

The Crimson Kimono is written, produced and directed by Samuel Fuller. It stars Glenn Corbett, James Shigeta, Victoria Shaw & Anna Lee. Cinematographer is Sam Leavitt and the music is by Harry Sukman. Plot is about two L.A. cops, Joe Kojaku (Shigeta) & Charlie Bancroft (Corbett), deep friends of a different race, bonded by blood who met during the Korean War. When stripper Sugar Torch (Gloria Pall) is shot and killed, the two men's investigation sees them follow a painting to the artist who painted it, Christine Downes (Shaw). It's the start of a love triangle that could have far reaching consequences for not only the investigation, but also Joe, Charlie & Christine.

1959 saw the release of Douglas Sirk's Imitation of Life, a much talked about movie, that whilst splitting the critics down the middle, was none the less the fourth biggest earner at the box office that year. Sirk's film, amongst other things, had a racially charged thread in it that gave it some added potency. The Crimson Kimono also had a racially charged thread running thru it, but Samuel Fuller's film, it seems, slipped under the radar. Now of course in the modern era of film, Sam Fuller is often name checked by the likes Scorsese & Tarantino as being an influence, while the French New Wavers were quick to laud him as a stylistic influence too. The Crimson Kimono is far from being Fuller's best work, but it is unmistakably a Fuller movie, and one that is a must see for those of a noir/hard-boiled persuasion.

Fuller has managed to put a murder mystery at the core of his film and wrap around it a tale of inter-racial tolerance, jealousy and sexual confusion: set deliciously to the backdrops of an urban part of L.A. and the more cosmopolitan Little Tokyo. As he weaves his vision together, never once hitting the viewer over the head with its messages, Fuller neatly plays around with his camera. Up close and personal to his actors, sweeping alongside for walk sequences and scatter-gun shooting for his action scenes (a Kendo fight is an action high point). It's thoughtful film making, the camera puts us in with the story and no scene is wasted, it's all relative, particularly as tensions start to rise between the two best friends and the case starts to unfold.

The principal actors are not big names, but all are very credible, and the lack of star power actually benefits the piece by keeping the narrative grounded. While the supporting Anna Lee (How Green Was My Valley) as an alcoholic mother figure type is a joy to watch. Sam Leavitt's (Anatomy of a Murder/The Defiant Ones) photography has it just right, the black & white has a stark look for the street exteriors and the interior focus has that hue of character importance about it. Harry Sukman's music is also worthy of mentioning, blending jazzy beats with oriental flavors, it's well in keeping with the nature of the story.

Although there's no cop out in the finale, in fact it's an important and affecting finish as regards the characters, the murder mystery angle close down is a little unfulfilling in context to the mood that has overall been built up. But it's no deal breaker and doesn't detract from what a very good movie The Crimson Kimono is. 8/10

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English | Japanese | Italian | French | Latin

Release Date:

5 May 1960 (Mexico) See more »

Also Known As:

The Crimson Kimono See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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