Since everyone's celebrating today as Throwback Thursday, we at StarTrek.com thought we'd direct fans towards a particularly cool oldie but goodie. It's the film noir drama House of Bamboo, out now on Blu-ray for the first time (via Twilight Time). The film, directed by Samuel Fuller, opened in 1955 and starred Robert Ryan, Robert Stack, Cameron Mitchell and Shirley Yamaguchi. Also in the cast, but uncredited, is Star Trek's future Dr. McCoy, DeForest Kelley, in one of his early roles as a baddie.
HOUSE OF BAMBOO (1955). With tough-guy director Samuel Fuller crouched behind the camera and tough-guy actor Robert Ryan looming large in front of it, House of Bamboo feels like the sort of quintessential film noir generally shot in grainy black-and-white and smoke-choked from all those Surgeon General-unfriendly cigarettes fingered by practically every cast member. Instead, the picture is often as rainbow-hued as any splashy MGM musical from the era, thanks to the inspired use of CinemaScope and its celluloid soulmate, DeLuxe Color. Set in post-WWII Japan, this stars Robert Stack as an American military cop who poses as a thug named Eddie Spanier in order to infiltrate a gang of Yanks engaged in criminal activities in and around Tokyo. The outfit is led by the urbane Sandy Dawson (Ryan), who finds himself drawn to the rough-and-tumble Eddie — much to the annoyance of Dawson's second-in-command, the volatile Griff (Cameron Mitchell). To help maintain his cover, Eddie receives invaluable assistance from Mariko (Shirley Yamaguchi), who must endure all manner of humiliation (including being ostracized by her neighbors) while posing as Eddie's kept woman. The main storyline isn't nearly as interesting as the multiple themes resting beneath the surface (homoeroticism, mixed-race relationships, U.S. appropriation of foreign interests, etc.), yet even those take a back seat to the dazzling shots staged by Fuller and captured by cinematographer Joe MacDonald. Look for DeForest Kelley (Star Trek's Dr. McCoy) and Robert Quarry (Count Yorga, Vampire) as two of Dawson's thugs; both are uncredited, though Kelley's role is rather substantial.