Friday, June 27, 2008

Movie: The Crimson Kimono (1959)

Turner Classic Movies aired this Samuel Fuller rarity as part of the network’s Race in Hollywood: Asian Images in Film series. A pair of LAPD detectives (Glenn Corbett and James Shigeta) investigating a murder both fall hard for a material witness in the case. Neither man is sure if the tensions that result in their friendship are the product of sublimated racism or simple jealousy.

All the Sam Fuller touches are here. Startling composition. Excellent location work on the streets of L.A.’s Little Tokyo. A roster of offbeat, lived-in characters, like Anna Lee’s cigar-puffing alcoholic muralist. It’s also a perfect example of the extraordinarily effective storytelling style that Fuller borrowed from pulp fiction: spring wild plot twists on the audience in a way that maximizes their impact, and explain ‘em later. Exposition goes down a lot easier when you want someone to tell you what the hell just happened.

Sam Goldwyn once said, “Pictures are for entertainment, messages should be delivered by Western Union.” Fuller found a way around that. Open your “message movie” with a big blonde stripper running half-naked down a crowded street only to be gunned down in traffic, and brother, you can preach to me about anything you want.

On The Web: Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog

This Fast Company article explains how Hollywood’s “Geek Elite” is transforming entertainment by creating brands that play out across platforms.

That’s the educational portion of the program, and an excuse to run this, from Joss Whedon:

Teaser from Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog on Vimeo.