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Los Angeles, the City in Cinema: The Crimson Kimono (Samuel Fuller, 1959)

On January 25, 2015 Colin and “The City in Cinema” come live to Portland, Oregon’s Hollywood Theatre – for details and tickets, visit

Samuel Fuller’s very late noir The Crimson Kimono essays the insider-outsider Los Angeles buddy cop picture not with space aliens, as in 1988’s Alien Nation, but with a people once treated with even less understanding than the spotty-headed “outsiders”: the Japanese. Ultraconfident white-bread detective Charlie Bancroft and ultracompetent but doubt-plagued Japanese-American detective Joe Kojaku together investigate the murder of a downdown stripper, a case which leads them into the heart of Japanese Los Angeles: Little Tokyo, captured here with a great deal of rich, lively footage shot during the still-yearly Nisei Week celebration. But, as often happens, a lady comes between them, hence the film’s salacious promotional posters: “Yes, this is a beautiful American girl in the arms of a Japanese boy!”

The video essays of “Los Angeles, the City in Cinema” examine the variety of Los Angeleses revealed in the films set there, both those new and old, mainstream and obscure, respectable and schlocky, appealing and unappealing — just like the city itself.