Dr Jacques COULARDEAU
The movie kicks off in 1948, as Joe Barret comes back after 7 years away to occupied Tokyo to take care of some unfinished business, soon getting into a playful Judo bout with his old friend and nightclub partner, Itoh (Teru Shimada). There's more unfinished business than he reckoned on, however, as he finds out that the beautiful wife he thought was dead is still alive. But this is no Madame Butterfly in reverse. The lady in question is Trina, a White Russian played by an actress with great cheekbones but with none of the smouldering quality of Ingrid Bergman. The writers lay on the twists thick and fast as we discover that Trina is now married to an Occupation bigwig, Mark Landis (Alexander Knox), and she has a kid which is Bogey's.
In order to protect Trina from a blackmail scam, Bogey gets sucked into a plot led by the evil Baron Kimura (Sessue Hayakawa) who bears an uncanny resemblance to former Japanese Prime Minister Nakasone. This scheme to revive the Black Dragon organization by smuggling Imperialist leaders back into Japan, is implausibly attributed to the Communists. The climax comes when Bogey's chubby little daughter gets kidnapped and Bogey's Japanese nightclub partner blames himself and commits hari-kiri.
"Still covering up for Kimura," Bogey admonishes him as he realises his old buddy won't be helping him with his judo practice anymore. "Don't you understand what guys like that have done for you? For a thousand years they've made suckers out of you. All they've wanted was the gravy and guys like you down on their hands and knees to hand it up to them. You think we're the real enemy because we're occupying Japan. You know why we're doing it? To help the Japanese people stand up on their hind legs, like men and women and have a right to in this world."
Anyway, Bogey manages to rescue his daughter taking a bullet in the process. This leads into a noticeably fudged ending. There are two possible ways to look at it. Either Humphrey dies as he is carried away out on the stretcher or he doesn't. The way the camera fades on Trina in the last scene, suggests that Joe has in fact passed on, but this is so vague that it's left open for those people who prefer a happier ending to imagine that he gets better in some unfilmed future after the movie.
The first possibility naturally packs more emotional punch - Bogey sacrificing himself once again and conveniently getting out of the way so that Trina can continue her glamorous life with Landis who turns out to be a thoroughly decent chap. But I've seen Bogey take too many knocks in too many movies not to try and imagine the second possibility.