Watch House of Bamboo
- 1 hr 42 min
House of Bamboo (1955) is a crime drama film directed by Samuel Fuller and is a remake of the 1948 movie Street with No Name. The film is set in post-World War II Tokyo and explores the world of organized crime. The story follows a US Army sergeant, Eddie Kenner (Robert Stack), who takes on a job as an investigator for the Army's Criminal Investigation Division (CID) after his friend is found dead in a robbery. Kenner discovers that a group of American criminals has set up a base in Tokyo and is working with a Japanese gang. The gang, led by an American ex-soldier named Sandy Dawson (Robert Ryan), are executing large-scale robberies across the city.
Kenner manages to infiltrate the gang by befriending its members and becoming one of them. Along the way, he falls in love with the gang leader's girlfriend Mariko (Shirley Yamaguchi), a singer and dancer in a club. Kenner is torn between his loyalty to the Army and his growing feelings for Mariko.
The film is notable for being shot on location in Japan and for being one of the first American films to feature a Japanese actress in a prominent role. This was a departure from the usual practice of casting white actors in Asian roles.
House of Bamboo is a well-crafted and stylish film noir that features a compelling plot, tense action sequences and stunning cinematography. The film beautifully captures the sights and sounds of Tokyo and highlights the clash of cultures between East and West.
One of the standout aspects of the film is the double-crossing and tension between the characters. Robert Ryan delivers a powerful portrayal of Sandy Dawson, a ruthless and cunning gang leader who will do anything to protect his criminal empire. Robert Stack gives a respectable performance as Eddie Kenner, the war vet who is determined to bring down the gang. Shirley Yamaguchi, as Mariko, delivers a nuanced performance that subtly conveys the internal conflicts of her character.
The film's climactic action sequence, set in a bamboo forest, is a masterful display of suspenseful filmmaking. The tension is palpable as the characters engage in a shootout amidst the tall bamboo trees. The imagery of the green bamboo forest, the white snow-covered hills, and the gray skies all come together to create a striking vision of both beauty and danger.
The film's score, composed by Leigh Harline, is a standout element that perfectly captures the mood and tone of the film. The jazzy and brassy score adds to the film's noir atmosphere, and the use of Japanese instruments such as the shakuhachi and koto, provides a subtle nod to the film's setting.
Despite its age, House of Bamboo remains an engaging and thrilling watch for fans of classic film noir. The film's themes of corruption, loyalty, and betrayal are timeless and hold up well even today. The film's stylish visuals, sharp writing and solid acting make it a must-watch for fans of the genre.
Overall, House of Bamboo is a gripping and stylish crime drama that stands the test of time. Its creative use of location shooting, international casting, and jazzy score set it apart from the standard film noir fare of its time. The film marks a significant moment in cinematic history as it was one of the first to feature Asian actors in prominent roles while showcasing the beauty of Japan.