The Crimson Kimono is a very underrated piece of 50’s film noir that has a whole to offer. That era has been grabbing my attention lately and I found a really solid one here that contains themes that are far ahead of its time. Samuel Fuller wrote and directed films for seven decades and I haven’t seen any until now. I chose a random one to start but I’m intrigued by his style so I’ll be checking out more when I can.
Joe and Charlie are a couple of detectives who get assigned to a murder case in LA. They’re also roommates and good buddies, so their chemistry seems really strong. The person who was murdered worked as a stripper and her death puts Joe and Charlie on a journey that tests their friendship. A woman named Christine draws a picture of a man that helped the stripper with her act and both detectives are smitten by her. Her drawing doesn’t just get their attention, but also the attention of a potentially dangerous man in the picture.
The stakes don’t just feel high but they feel real in The Crimson Kimono. I enjoyed every performance but it was James Shigeta as Joe who I will remember most fondly. His character is a Japanese American and the film addresses the racial tension without being a film solely about race. There isn’t any time to process The Crimson Kimono until it’s all said and done because of how well it moves and stirs the heart.