Written by: Michael Den Boer on August 8th, 2017
BluRay released: July 18th, 2017
Approximate running times: 81 Minutes
Aspect Ratios: 1.85:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Sound: DTS-HD Mono English
Subtitles: English SDH
BluRay Release: Twilight Time
Region Coding: Region Free
Retail Price: $29.95
The Crimson Kimono was written and directed by Samuel Fuller whose other notable films include, Pickup on South Street, House of Bamboo, Shock Corridor, The Naked Kiss and The Big Red One. Key collaborators on The Crimson Kimono include, cinematographer Sam Leavitt (The Defiant Ones, Major Dundee) and composer Harry Sukman (A Bullet for Joey, Salem’s Lot).
When discussing the Film Noir genre, the thing that instantly springs to mind are their distinctive visuals. And though said visuals tend to get most of the acclaim when discussing the Film Noir genre. There is another key element that is deeply rooted in this genre’s most revered films. And that is the use of social commentary in the story at hand.
This most definitely rings true in regards to The Crimson Kimono and to a larger extent the majority of films that were directed by Samuel Fuller. At the heart of The Crimson Kimono is a love triangle that runs parallel with the investigation into a young woman’s murder. And though the murder is the event that gets this film’s narrative going, it is ultimately said love triangle that provides this film’s most riveting moments.
The narrative is meticulously constructed and key moments are given an ample amount of time to resonate. Another strength of the film is how it has its two detectives going out on their own on looking in leads about the young woman’s murder. And to further accentuate these parallel narratives, each venture into a world that they are familiar with. One detective is a Caucasian, while the other detective is Japanese.
The characters are well defined and the entire cast very good in their respective roles. With this film’s standout performances being, James Shigeta (Flower Drum Song, Brother) in the role of Japanese American detective named Joe Kojaku and Victoria Shaw (Edge of Eternity) in the role of Christine ‘Chris’ Downs, an artist whose painting holds the key to the killers identity. Other notable performances include, Glenn Corbett (Route 66 T.V. series) in the role of Joe’s partner, detective Charlie Bancroft and Anna Lee (How Green Was My Valley) in the role of an alcoholic artist named Mac.
From a production standpoint, there is film there is an area where this film does not excel and nowhere is more evident, then when it comes to its gritty visuals which do a superb job capturing the essence of the Los Angeles locations featured in this film. And another strength of this film is its editing which perfectly juxtapositions this film’s parallel narratives.
The Crimson Kimono comes on a 50 GB dual layer (28.9 GB) BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive widescreen. Contrast and black levels remain strong throughout, details look crisp and there are issues with compression. When compared to Sony’s region 1 DVD, this new transfer is a massive upgrade that is superior in every-way.
This release comes with one audio option, a DTS-HD mono mix in English and included with this release are removable English SDH subtitles. The audio sounds, clean, clear and balanced throughout.
Extras for this release include, an option to view the Twilight Time catalog, an eight-page booklet with an essay about the film’s written by Julie Kirgo, an option to listen to an Isolated music track, 16mm trailer (1 minute 51 seconds, 35mm trailer #1 (1 minute 2 seconds), 35mm trailer #2 (22 seconds), a featurette titled Curtis Hanson: The Culture of The Crimson Kimono (9 minutes 23 seconds) and a featurette titled Sam Fuller Storyteller (24 minutes 14 seconds).
The extra titled Sam Fuller Storyteller is a tribute to Sam Fuller that includes comments from those who knew him. Besides The Crimson Kimono, this extra also touches upon the other films that Fuller directed that were distributed by Columbia Pictures.
Overall The Crimson Kimono gets a solid release from Twilight Time, highly recommended.
Note: This Blu-Ray release is a limited-edition release of 3,000 copies.