Tokyo Joe (1949)

April 1st, 2023
Author: Meredith Taylor

Dir: Stuart Heisler | US Drama

It is a truth rarely acknowledged that for every timeless classic Humphrey Bogart made during the forties there was a mediocre clunker now languishing in richly deserved obscurity.

The late David Shipman went so far as to describe ‘Tokyo Joe’ as “one of his worst films” (which seems a bit harsh if you’ve ever seen ‘The Two Mrs Carrolls’); the felony compounded by the fact that Bogart actually it for his own company, Santana.

The film is probably more interesting to contemplate that to actually watch, but it has a certain morbid fascination. But it’s not every day you hear Bogie speak Japanese, Alexander Knox brings his usual quiet dignity to the thankless part of Bogart’s rival in love; while it provides a rare chance see Florence Marley – who now enjoys cult status for the title role of Curtis Harrington’s ‘Queen of Blood’ – bringing her glacial blue eyes to the role of Bogie’s ex-wife during her very short-lived Hollywood career. @RichardChatten

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