Tokyo After Dark (1959)

US / 81 minutes / bw / Nacirema, Paramount Dir: Norman T. Herman Pr & Scr: Norman T. Herman, Marvin Segal Cine: William Margulies Cast: Michi Kobi, Richard Long, Lawrence Dobkin, Paul Dubov, Teru Shimada, Robert Okazaki, Carlyle Mitchell, Frank Kumagai, John Brinkley, Edo Mita, Lowell Brown, Don Keigo Takeuchi, Jerry Adler, Mazaji Yamamoto.

Tokyo After Dark - 0 opener

Sergeant Robert “Bob” Douglas (Long), a somewhat overzealous American MP, is nearing the end of his tour of duty in Tokyo and plans, on his return to the US, to take with him his fiancée, chanteuse Sumi Fujita (Kobi). One night he comes across a pair of Japanese teenagers and, stupidly, draws his gun. The next he knows is that, in his tussle with one of the kids, he has accidentally pulled the trigger and killed the other.

Tokyo After Dark - 2 Bob realizes what he's done

Bob (Richard Long) faces the hideous realization of what he’s done.

Tokyo After Dark - 1 Sumi sings at the Ginza Sukiyaki

Sumi (Michi Kobi), singing at the Ginza Sukiyaki.

His kindly superior officer, Major J. Bradley (Dobkin), believes Bob’s explanation that the death was an accident and at first assumes the whole affair can be Continue reading

Big Street, The (1942)

US / 88 minutes / bw / RKO Dir: Irving Reis Pr: Damon Runyon Scr: Leonard Spigelgass Story: “Little Pinks” (1940; Collier’s Magazine) by Damon Runyon Cine: Russell Metty Cast: Henry Fonda, Lucille Ball, Barton MacLane, Eugene Pallette, Agnes Moorehead, Sam Levene, Ray Collins, Marion Martin, William Orr, George Cleveland, Vera Gordon, Louise Beavers, Juan Varro, Art Hamburger, Ozzie Nelson and his Orchestra.

Runyon’s tales are, of course, not noir, and yet they share noir’s milieu so knowingly that it can be hard to ignore their claims. In the case of MIDNIGHT ALIBI (1935) I was sufficiently persuaded of those claims to include an entry in the Encyclopedia; The Big Street might also have been a candidate, had I had the space.

The movie opens with scrolled text beginning:

Loser’s Lane—the sidewalk in front of Mindy’s Restaurant on Broadway—is not as high-toned a trading center as Wall Street, but the brokers are a lot more colorful.

 Generally they prefer to put their money on a prizefight or horserace, but when the action slows, anything can happen and it usually does. . . .

What’s happening today in Mindy’s is the Eating Championship of the World, organized by the merry lowlifes Professor B. (Collins) and Horsethief (Levene), the dueling trenchermen being Mr. Nicely Nicely Johnson (Pallette) and Mr. Joel Duffle (fittingly played by Hamburger); the hoodlum Case Ables (MacLane) has a hefty stake in Nicely Nicely winning. However, Nicely Nicely has fallen ill with dyspepsia, owing to unwise snacking. The Mindy’s busboy Little Pinks (Fonda)—more fully Augustus Pinkerton II—offers the services in Nicely Nicely’s place of his lodging-house co-boarder Violette Shumberger (Moorehead), but she proves inadequate to the task and the vicious Ables loses his stash.

Lucille Ball as a chanteuse facing an uncertain future.

The event’s the opportunity for Pinks to meet Ables’s chanteuse moll Gloria Lyons (Ball), whose yappy little dog Baby Continue reading