Blood on the Sun (1945)
Director: Frank Lloyd
Starring: James Cagney (Nick Condon), Sylvia Sidney (Iris Hilliard), Porter Hall (Arthur Bickett), John Emery (Premier Giichi Tanaka), Wallace Ford (Ollie Miller), Rosemary DeCamp (Edith Miller), John Halloran (Capt. Oshima), Robert Armstrong (Col. Hideki Tojo).
James Cagney plays an American in Japan who sees the military build-up of Japan towards WWII. His warnings go unheeded.
Spoiler Warning: below is a summary of the entire movie.
The movie maintains that most of us know about Hitler, but few people know about the Asiatic Hitler, Baron Giichi Tanaka. An American newspaperman, however, was about to change that by giving first exposure to Tanaka. The headline in the Tokyo Chronicle was "Tanaka Plans Attack on U.S." Soon there are riots outside the newspaper offices. Two Japanese men call on the newspaper. The editor is American Nick Condon, but he is away from his office. The Japanese officials catch up with Nick at the communal baths. Nick defends the article by saying that it appeared in three New York newspapers. (Later we find out that Nick was the author.)
Fellow newspaperman Ollie Miller comes into the local bar and tells the newspapermen that he has come into a nice bit of money and has two boat tickets for home for his wife and him. The Japanese, however, are tailing the Millers. Nick discovers the dead body of Mrs. Miller in her room on the ship. As Nick leaves the ship the Japanese try to grab him. He socks one of them knocking him into the water and gets away.
At home Nick hears gunshots and sees Ollie Miller stagger and then fall through the glass door of the house. Ollie gives Nick a copy of the Tanaka Plan making it clear that the Japanese are planning to conquer the world and then dies. The Japanese file into Nick's house and Nick hides the Tanaka Plan behind a picture. (Outside the house is a half-Chinese woman onlooker known as Iris.) Then Nick tries to fight his way past the Japanese. He almost gets away, but not quite and he is put in jail. Nick accuses Chief of Police Oshima of having killed two Americans, namely the Millers.
Out of jail, Nick brings a photographer to takes pictures of the destruction caused by the Japanese. But Nick finds that the Japanese have already fixed up his place. And it appears that they also got his copy of the Tanaka Plan.
Premier Tanaka asks his men to tell Nick to come to his house for a talk. Nick obliges and two adversaries meet. Nick will not be an easy enemy to defeat. Also present is Prince Tatsugi, who opposes the ideas of Tanaka.
The Japanese deny Nick's charge that Captain Oshima killed two Americans and show him a telegram from the captain of the ship heading to the United States from Japan saying that the Millers were alive and on board the ship. It is suggested that Nick had an hallucination.
Nick finds out that his Japanese adversaries do not have the copy of the Tanaka Plan. Instead, Iris has the copy. She had been standing outside looking into Nick's house when he hid the Plan. When everyone left, she went into the house and took the Plan. Iris tells Nick that she is half Chinese and half something else. She is actually on his side, she explains, because she wants a free China, not one dominated by the Japanese. Unfortunately for her and Nick, their adversaries have bugged her rooms. Colonel Tojo found out about Iris and now he and the others want to know from her the name of the traitor who helped her in her role as double agent. If she does not cooperate, Tojo will deal with her. Premier Tanka tells Tojo to makes sure he punishes the woman. Feeling that he has failed his emperor, Tanaka commits ritual suicide.
Iris gets a note to Nick telling him to meet her at the wharf. Nick's friend Charlie tells Nick that it's a frame-up. Charlie says: "It's been a week and now she contacts you?" Nick also learns that the Japanese police are going to arrest him as a Chinese agent. Nick takes a taxi to the wharf. There a woman brings him to a small shack near the water. Inside is Iris. The two embrace. Prince Tatsugi is also there and he signs a statement that the Tanaka Plan is a legitimate document.
Iris tells Nick that a fishing boat will pick up the two of them and take them to a freighter that will head for China. Leaving the wharf, the Prince gets killed by policeman Oshima. The police are closing in on Nick and Iris and Iris tells him to get in the fishing boat. But Nick says that he is staying. He tells Iris that they both have jobs to do and they must do them. He will meet up with her in China later.
Iris leaves and Oshima confronts Nick. Nick convinces Oshima to put his pistol away and fight man to man. It's a rough match with the use of a lot of judo, but Nick comes out victorious. As Nick leaves the wharf, the head of the secret police raises his pistol to shoot Nick. Nick sees the assailant and is able to jump on a passing truck before the assassin can shoot him.
Nick tries to escape the many policemen looking for him. The Japanese set up a sniper near the American embassy figuring that Nick would go there. And that's exactly what Nick does. The sniper is not that good at his craft because his first bullets miss their mark, but he does knock Nick down with another shot. Nick's friend in the embassy runs out and saves Nick from the Japanese police. Nick is helped to the embassy. The chief of police tries to get Nick to agree that if the Japanese forget his crimes against their nation, Nick will forget what he has discovered. Of course, Nick is not interested as he, helped by his friend, heads into the American embassy compound.
Good movie. It's a pretty good mystery thriller that maintains the tension and interest throughout the movie. The only thing that disturbed me was the claim that the Japanese wanted to conquer the world. Their plan was to control Asia, including China and India. If they really tried to conquer the world, Japan would have had to fight Germany, as well as the many Allied countries. Admiral Yamamoto of the Japanese Navy knew that Japan could not defeat the Americans. His plan was to gain control over Asia quickly and then negotiate a settlement with the United States before that country geared up to its maximum potential.
Patrick Louis Cooney, Ph. D.
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