Nick Condon is a newspaper reporter working in Tokyo who refuses to toe the Japanese line on the expansionist policies of the anti-democratic Imperialist government.
When it become clear to the authorities that Condon isn't going to cooperate and that he has some valuable information and contacts, they decide to get him in their clutches for some interrogations and then dispose of him.
Running Time: 98 Minutes
MPAA Ratings: PG
Produced by his brother William, and directed by Frank Lloyd, this above average James Cagney thriller will hold your attention all the way through to its ending. Set before the outbreak of World War II, an American newspaper editor (Cagney) working in Japan, who refuses to publish their government's propaganda, becomes involved in the attempted exposure of a secret document detailing Premier Tanaka's (John Emery) plans for imperial expansion. Sylvia Sidney plays a Chinese woman that Cagney's character isn't sure he can trust;Porter Hall is his publisher. Robert Armstrong plays Tojo;Wallace Ford (also playing a reporter) &Rosemary DeCamp play a couple that gets involved, tragically, in the intrigue. Rhys Williams plays a reporter who's willing to tow the line for the Japanese, whereas James Bell's character assists Cagney's. Hugh Beaumont appears unaccredited as a U.S. Embassy employee who attempts to keep Cagney alive in the end. John Halloran, Leonard Strong, and Marvin Miller play the other hapless, one dimensionally evil Japanese who try to stop Cagney from succeeded;Frank Puglia plays another, in a key role. The film won an Oscar for B&W Art Direction-Interior Decoration. (Classic filmguide.com)
Jimmy Cagney is like a firecracker in this movie, set in pre-WWII Japan. In some ways it's a cross between Casablanca and The Maltese Falcon and sometimes it's silly (e.g., white actors in Japanese makeup), but it's one of the most entertaining movies of its era. It reminds you how much of a talent James Cagney was - he carries the picture. There are also excellent character performances by Wallace Ford and Porter Hall. Even Sylvia Sidney as an unconvincing half-Chinese vixen has some good moments.
Nicely done war thriller with Cagney as a suave but pugnacious newspaper reporter in Japan who comes into possession of secret war plans. The plans are the work of a fascist Baron Tanaka who pushes the war agenda for the right-wing militarists over the objections of those opposed to war. The characters are interesting, and while many are static yet well-played, quite a few others are nicely fleshed out and grow during the plot. Cagney, some of the newspapermen and the female spy have some plot movement to develop their characters with. Even the villains, who could easily be cardboard, are well-played and exhibit human motivation. Obviously this is not a documentary, but it's also not pure melodrama either.
Won an Oscar
Best Art Direction-Interior Decoration, Black-and-White
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