House of Bamboo

Samuel Fuller's 1955 House of Bamboo is no one's idea of a classic: a wide-screen, luridly Technicolor tale of love and corruption in the pachinko parlors of Tokyo that reeks of grindhouse and Eisenhower–era triumphalism. Writer-director Fuller went on location in Japan to make the movie, and he never lets you forget it, madly shoehorning as much local color as possible into the action (every other shot seems to feature Fujiyama) while slinging Japanese slang at the slightest provocation. "I used to be your ichi-ban!" somebody screams at American crime boss Robert Ryan. As a celebration of American empire, House of Bamboo is apriori politically incorrect yet so widescreen wacky that even the Daily Worker almost dug it, concluding its 1955 review with the note that movie is "taut and hard and fast—and tough, too tough." (NR) J. HOBERMAN

Jan. 13-19, 7 p.m., 2012

 
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