Hard-hitting postwar crime drama that owes much of its origin to THE STREET WITH NO NAME, except that this is now set in Japan and the addition of the Asian background adds much to the story. Ryan is a gangleader in Japan who has gathered a group of ex-servicemen around him and organized
the lucrative pachinko parlors. Ryan is a vicious man whose cruel side is often in evidence. Stack is sent by the army to get inside the gang in order to solve the murder of a GI. Stack manages to convince Ryan that he is a hoodlum and joins the mob, which is the Asian version of the Chicago-type
gangs of the 1920s. Stack moves in with Yamaguchi, widow of one of the gang's dead compatriots. There's a robbery and it's evident that the gang has been betrayed by someone inside. Ryan thinks it's Mitchell, kills him, and then elevates Stack to the position of ichi-ban (number one man) in the
operation. Eventually, Ryan figures out that Stack is the snake in the grass and tries to have him killed but fails. In an exciting final sequence the two men duel on top of a building at an amusement park. Stack emerges the victor and is united with Yamaguchi.
Beautifully photographed and well-written, HOUSE OF BAMBOO has many underlying themes. It was one of the rare postwar pictures made in Japan and effectively melded Japanese culture with the American criminal mentality. Stack knows that Ryan is physically attracted to him and uses this to hoist the
villain on his own petard, thus making Stack's role somewhat unsympathetic. "Star Trek's" Kelley has a small role and old-time star Hayakawa is very convincing as the police inspector. Filmed in Japan in excellent color.
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