This week’s mystery movie has been the 1957 RKO picture “Escapade in Japan,” with Teresa Wright, Cameron Mitchell, Jon Provost, Roger Nakagawa, Philip Ober, Kuniko Miyake, Susumu Fujita, Katsuhiko Haida and Tatsuo Saito. It was written by Winston Miller, filmed in Technirama by William Snyder, with music by Max Steiner, art direction by George W. Davis and Walter Holscher, set decoration by Shinz Isa. William Dozier was in charge of production, produced and directed by Arthur Lubin.
The movie is available on dubious DVDs, and is often passed off as a Clint Eastwood movie based on a few moments of screen time. My copy (recorded off TCM years ago) has fairly crummy color that I had to adjust for posting on the Web.
Writing in the New York Times (Dec. 24, 1957), A.W. said:
Call it coincidental, but “Escapade in Japan,” which slipped into the Little Carnegie yesterday, is gratifyingly reminiscent of “The Happy Road” of last summer, which, with the aid of a pair of charming youngsters, roamed over France and struck blows for brotherly love. “Escapade,” which employs a couple of winning little boys — an American and a Japanese — not only takes a viewer on a Cook’s tour of Nippon but also strikingly shows the effects of mutual respect and admiration. It makes for a simple but delightful junket.
This has been a fun week – for me, anyway. Howard Mandelbaum wrote of seeing the film at a kiddie matinee in the 1950s. And Gary shared an interesting reminiscence of working with Teresa Wright. I don’t think anybody is going to call this a landmark of cinema. It’s loaded with the painfully awful dialogue that adults write for children and sounds nothing like the way kids talk. The boys are always, always, always hungry and much of the plot concerns them in various ploys to get food. It’s also badly dated in its portrayal of Japan – even the usually reliable Max Steiner resorts to generic gongs and cymbals. It’s essentially a 1950s travelogue of exotic Japan with a story line to string it together.
For Monday, we have a mystery woman.
This is a case of such goings-off rather than such goings-on.
Update: This is Mari Maki.
For Tuesday, we have a mystery woman.
Update: This is Kuniko Miyake.
For Wednesday, we have a mystery gentleman.
Update: This is This is Tatsuo Saito.
Brain Trust roll call: Gary (mystery movie and Tuesday’s mystery woman).
Update: This is This is Hideko Koshikawa, Roger Nakagawa and Jon Provost.
For Friday …
Update: Pilot to tower: Play “Misty” for me.
Also, a not terribly mysterious couple … (they most certainly do not approve of such goings-on).
Update: Cameron Mitchell and Teresa Wright.
Brain Trust roll call: Lorenzo (mystery movie and Thursday’s Mystery Child No. 3), Tucson Barbara (mystery movie and mystery guests), Mike Hawks (mystery movie and Thursday’s Mystery Child No. 3), Jenny M. (mystery movie and Thursday’s Mystery Child No. 3), Howard Mandelbaum (mystery movie and Thursday’s mystery children), Anne Papineau (mystery movie and Thursday’s mystery lads), Gary (Monday’s mystery stripteuse and Thursday’s mystery Child No. 3), Sylvia E (mystery movie, Monday’s mystery stripteuse and Thursday’s mystery children), Mary Mallory (mystery movie, Monday’s mystery stripteuse, Tuesday’s mystery woman and Thursday’s mystery children) and Lee Ann, Megan and Thom (mystery movie and Thursday’s mystery lads).