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The Crimson Kimono


Dir. Samuel Fuller. 1959, 82 mins. 35mm. With James Shigeta, Glenn Corbett, Victoria Shaw. Filmed in L.A.’s Little Tokyo, The Crimson Kimono follows a pair of detectives and best friends, one Japanese-American, who fall in love with the same girl while investigating the murder of a burlesque dancer. The film was daring for the time in its depiction of interracial romance, and sensitive in its focus on how racism is internalized. Fuller creates a world where Japanese culture mingles with burlesque, crime, and arty bohemia—by turns brassy and delicate, tender and explosive. As always, his characters harbor emotions so visceral and all-consuming that both English and film grammar are warped by their intensity.

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