House of Bamboo (1955)

102-103 mins | Drama | July 1955

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HISTORY

The working title of this film was The Tokyo Story . According to voice-over narration at the film's beginning, the picture was completely shot on location in Tokyo, Yokohama and the Japanese countryside. At the end of the picture, a written acknowledgment thanks "the Military Police of the U.S. Army Forces Far East and the Eighth Army, as well as the Government of Japan and the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department" for their cooperation during production. Among the well-known sites used for location shooting were the rooftop playground of the Matsuma department store; the "Ant City" along the banks of the Sumida River; Anakusa, Tokyo's theatrical district; and the Fuji Sanroku railroad station, from which Mount Fujiyama can be seen. As noted in the film's pressbook, The Shochiku Girls Revue Troupe were from Tokyo's noted Kokusai Theatre.
       A 23 Feb 1955 HR news item stated that Reiko Hayakawa, the daughter of noted Japanese actor Sessue Hayakawa, would be making her film debut in House of Bamboo , but her appearance in the completed picture has not been confirmed. Although contemporary sources reported that House of Bamboo was the first major Hollywood film shot on location in Japan, other pictures had been filmed there previously, including the 1951 RKO production Tokyo File 212 (see below). HR production charts also indicate that some sequences in House of Bamboo were shot in the United States.
       Although studio publicity announced that a song entitled "House of Bamboo," written by Leigh Harline and Jack Brooks, would be featured in the picture, it was not in the print viewed. ... More Less

The working title of this film was The Tokyo Story . According to voice-over narration at the film's beginning, the picture was completely shot on location in Tokyo, Yokohama and the Japanese countryside. At the end of the picture, a written acknowledgment thanks "the Military Police of the U.S. Army Forces Far East and the Eighth Army, as well as the Government of Japan and the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department" for their cooperation during production. Among the well-known sites used for location shooting were the rooftop playground of the Matsuma department store; the "Ant City" along the banks of the Sumida River; Anakusa, Tokyo's theatrical district; and the Fuji Sanroku railroad station, from which Mount Fujiyama can be seen. As noted in the film's pressbook, The Shochiku Girls Revue Troupe were from Tokyo's noted Kokusai Theatre.
       A 23 Feb 1955 HR news item stated that Reiko Hayakawa, the daughter of noted Japanese actor Sessue Hayakawa, would be making her film debut in House of Bamboo , but her appearance in the completed picture has not been confirmed. Although contemporary sources reported that House of Bamboo was the first major Hollywood film shot on location in Japan, other pictures had been filmed there previously, including the 1951 RKO production Tokyo File 212 (see below). HR production charts also indicate that some sequences in House of Bamboo were shot in the United States.
       Although studio publicity announced that a song entitled "House of Bamboo," written by Leigh Harline and Jack Brooks, would be featured in the picture, it was not in the print viewed. According to a statement by director Samuel Fuller in the pressbook, the interracial romance between "Eddie" and "Mariko" was "only recently...made possible by revisions of the Motion Picture Code, the American film industry's self-censorship agreement." Modern sources report that Fuller appears in the film as a Tokyo policeman.
       A 30 Aug 1955 HCN article reported that the film was not well received in Japan, where a leading newspaper denounced the film's representation of the female lead and Japanese customs, dress and settings. The Japanese reviewer dismissed the film as "strictly a commercial item trying to sell exoticism to an American audience using Japan as a stage and a Japanese actress....Its manner of completely ignoring Japanese habits, geography and sentiment makes us feel quite awkward." House of Bamboo is a remake of the 1948 Twentieth Century-Fox film The Street with No Name , which was directed by William Keighley and starred Mark Stevens, Richard Widmark and Lloyd Nolan (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1941-50 ). More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
9 Jul 1955.
---
Cue
9 Jul 1955.
---
Daily Variety
1 Jul 55
p. 3.
Film Daily
7 Jul 55
p. 6.
Hollywood Citizen-News
30 Aug 1955.
---
Hollywood Reporter
20 Oct 1954
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
20 Dec 1954
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
20 Jan 1955
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
24 Jan 1955
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
26 Jan 1955
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
2 Feb 1955
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
4 Feb 55
p. 13.
Hollywood Reporter
23 Feb 1955
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
25 Mar 55
p. 18.
Hollywood Reporter
1 Jul 55
p. 3.
Los Angeles Times
14 Jul 1955.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
2 Jul 55
p. 497.
New York Times
2 Jul 55
p. 13.
Newsweek
18 Jul 1955.
---
Time
1 Aug 1955.
---
Variety
6 Jul 55
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITERS
Addl dial
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Asst cam
Key grip
Head elec
Best boy
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set dec
COSTUMES
Ward dir
Ward
MUSIC
Vocal supv
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec photog eff
Spec eff
MAKEUP
Makeup
Hair styling
PRODUCTION MISC
Unit prod mgr
Pub dir
Scr supv
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col consultant
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
The Tokyo Story
Release Date:
July 1955
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 1 July 1955
Los Angeles opening: 13 July 1955
Production Date:
2 February--late March 1955
Copyright Claimant:
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Copyright Date:
28 June 1955
Copyright Number:
LP5398
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Color
De Luxe
Widescreen/ratio
CinemaScope
Lenses/Prints
lenses by Bausch & Lomb
Duration(in mins):
102-103
Length(in reels):
12
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
17450
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In 1954, a military train guarded by American soldiers and Japanese police is attacked as it travels between Kyoto and Tokyo. During the raid, which is carried out with great precision, an American sergeant is killed, and the train's cargo of guns and ammunition is stolen. The crime is investigated by Capt. Hanson, an American, and Japanese police inspector Kita, who, five weeks later, are concerned when a thief named Webber is shot with some of the stolen bullets. As Webber lies dying in a Tokyo hospital, he is questioned by Hanson and Kita, and although Webber was left for dead by his gang during a thwarted robbery, he refuses to implicate his cohorts, who presumably are responsible for the earlier crime. Webber, who is also an American, does reveal, however, that he is secretly married to a Japanese woman named Mariko. Among Webber's possessions is a letter from an American named Eddie Spanier, who wants to join Webber in Japan after his release from a U.S. prison. Three weeks later, Eddie arrives in Tokyo and finds Mariko, who is initially afraid that he is one of the men responsible for her husband's death. Eddie gains Mariko's trust with a photograph of himself and Webber, then warns her to keep quiet about her marriage so that she will not be in danger from Webber's killers. Later, Eddie goes to a pachinko parlor, in which patrons gamble on intricate machines similar to pinball machines. There, Eddie attempts to sell "protection" to the manager, but when he returns to discuss the matter again, he is beaten and warned to leave by racketeer Sandy Dawson and ... +


In 1954, a military train guarded by American soldiers and Japanese police is attacked as it travels between Kyoto and Tokyo. During the raid, which is carried out with great precision, an American sergeant is killed, and the train's cargo of guns and ammunition is stolen. The crime is investigated by Capt. Hanson, an American, and Japanese police inspector Kita, who, five weeks later, are concerned when a thief named Webber is shot with some of the stolen bullets. As Webber lies dying in a Tokyo hospital, he is questioned by Hanson and Kita, and although Webber was left for dead by his gang during a thwarted robbery, he refuses to implicate his cohorts, who presumably are responsible for the earlier crime. Webber, who is also an American, does reveal, however, that he is secretly married to a Japanese woman named Mariko. Among Webber's possessions is a letter from an American named Eddie Spanier, who wants to join Webber in Japan after his release from a U.S. prison. Three weeks later, Eddie arrives in Tokyo and finds Mariko, who is initially afraid that he is one of the men responsible for her husband's death. Eddie gains Mariko's trust with a photograph of himself and Webber, then warns her to keep quiet about her marriage so that she will not be in danger from Webber's killers. Later, Eddie goes to a pachinko parlor, in which patrons gamble on intricate machines similar to pinball machines. There, Eddie attempts to sell "protection" to the manager, but when he returns to discuss the matter again, he is beaten and warned to leave by racketeer Sandy Dawson and his henchmen, Griff, Charlie, Willy and Phil. Intrigued by Eddie's presence in Japan, Sandy arranges for him to be arrested, and Sandy's secret informer, who is connected to the police department, obtains Eddie's rap sheet. Convinced of Eddie's aptitude for crime, Sandy invites him to join his gang, which consists of former American servicmen who have been dishonorably discharged. After his acceptance into the gang, Eddie secretly meets with Kita and Hanson, for whom he is working undercover. Needing help from someone he can trust, Eddie asks Mariko to live with him as his "kimono girl," although he does not reveal his identity as a military police investigator. Hoping to discover who killed her husband, Mariko resides with Eddie despite being ostracized by her neighbors, who do not know that her relationship with the foreigner is platonic. As time passes, Sandy grows to trust Eddie, although Eddie is shocked during a robbery when a wounded gang member is killed by Griff to prevent him from talking. Eddie is also wounded, but Sandy makes an exception to his rule of killing fallen men and saves him. Eddie finally informs the worried Mariko that his real name is Sgt. Kenner, and that he is investigating Sandy. Meanwhile, Griff, Sandy's "ichiban" or "number one boy," becomes jealous of Sandy's reliance upon Eddie, and Sandy relieves the hot-headed Griff of his duties. The next day, Mariko, who has fallen in love with Eddie, notifies Kita and Hanson about a planned robbery, but Sandy's informant, reporter Ceram, warns him that the police are poised to capture him. After the robbery is aborted, Sandy kills Griff, whom he mistakenly assumes tipped off the police. Ceram informs Sandy of his mistake, and Sandy retaliates by setting Eddie up to be killed by the Japanese police during a robbery of a pearl broker. When the plan fails, Sandy is chased by the police up to a rooftop amusement park, but after an intense gunfight, Eddie succeeds in shooting and killing Sandy. Later, wearing his military uniform, Eddie walks with Mariko in a Tokyo park. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.