AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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First Yank into Tokyo
Alternate Title: First Man into Tokyo
Director: Gordon Douglas (Dir)
Release Date:   1945
Premiere Information:   World premiere in San Francisco: 11 Sep 1945
Production Date:   early Feb--early Mar 1945
Duration (in mins):   82
Duration (in feet):   7,399
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Cast:   Tom Neal (Major Steve Ross, also known as Sergeant Takishima)  
    Barbara Hale (Abby Drake)  
    Marc Cramer (Louis Jardine)  
    Richard Loo (Colonel Eco Okunura)  
    Keye Luke (Haan-Soo)  
    Leonard Strong (Major Nogiea)  
    Benson Fong (Captain Tanaho)  
    Clarence Lung (Major Ichibo)  
    Key Chang (Captain Sato)  
    Michael St. Angel (Captain Andrew Kent)  
    Edmund Glover (Prisoner)  
    Robert Clarke (Prisoner)  
    Johnny Strong (Prisoner)  
    Eden Nicholas (Prisoner)  
    Jimmy Jordan (Prisoner)  
    Bruce Edwards (Captain Harris)  
    Wong Artarne (First Korean)  
    Larry Wong (Second Korean)  
    Albert Law (Japanese pilot)  
    Gerald Pierce (Waist gunner)  
    Harry Anderson (Submarine commander)  
    Ralph Stein (Bellhop)  
    Selmar Jackson (Colonel Blaine)  
    Dorothy Curtis (Nurse)  
    Noreen Lee (Nurse)  
    Gwen Crawford (Nurse)  
    Betty Gillette (Nurse)  
    Frances Haldorn (Nurse)  
    Ione Reed (Nurse)  
    Aline Goodwins (Nurse)  
    Bobby La Salle (Nurse)  
    Russell Hicks (General Stanton)  
    John Hamilton (Dr. Stacey)  
    Wallis Clark (Dr. Langley)  
    Kenneth MacDonald (Colonel Thompson)  
    Joseph Kim (Sergeant Osami)  
    Beal Wong (Lieutenant Kono)  
    Paul Fung (Captain Yamanashi)  
    Bob Chinn (Japanese soldier)  
    Chet Voravan (Japanese soldier)  
    Richard Wang (Japanese sentry)  
    Tommy Lee (Japanese sentry)  
    Bo Ching (Dancer)  
    George Lee (Chinese captain)  
    Peter Chong (Dr. Kai Koon)  
    Edwin Luke (Ling Wang)  
    Thomas Quon Woo    
    Weaver Levy    
    George Chung    
    Spencer Chan    
    James Leong    

Summary: After staging a successful bombing raid on Tokyo, pilot Steve Ross returns to San Francisco, where he reminisces about his lost love, army nurse Abby Drake, who he believes perished while on duty in Bataan. Steve's leave is curtailed when he is ordered to report to Washington and asked to volunteer for a special mission. Because Steve was reared in Japan and is fluent in the language, the army proposes that he undergo plastic surgery to become a "Japanese" so that he can infiltrate the army and contact scientist Louis Jardine, a prisoner of war who possesses the formula to build an atom bomb. Steve accepts the mission and after the surgery is sent to a city near Hong Kong, where he becomes known as Sergeant Takishima, a Japanese soldier who is being shipped back to Japan after being discharged for battle shock. As Steve's ship nears Tokyo, he jumps overboard and, after swimming ashore, walks to the Kamuri concentration camp, where Jardine is being held prisoner. At the camp, Steve is assigned to work at the supply depot and there meets Haan-Soo, a Korean errand boy who is a member of the underground working with the U. S. When Haan-Soo tells Steve that Jardine has been hospitalized with black fever, Steve gets himself reassigned to the hospital by bribing Major Nogiea, the medical director who has been pilfering hospital supplies. Steve's assignment must be approved by Colonel Eco Okunura, the perceptive camp commander, who was also Steve's college roommate. Okunura fails to recognize his old roommate, but is certain that he has met the new soldier somewhere before. At the supply room, Steve encounters Abby, who has been captured by the Japanese and assigned the position of head nurse at the hospital. When Jardine, who has been working at the munitions plant, returns to the hospital that night, Steve contacts him. At first Jardine doubts that the Japanese soldier is really an American agent, but Steve convinces him. Soon after, Okunura makes an advance toward Abby, and when she rejects him, he takes revenge on Nogiea, who has also tried to seduce the nurse. Accusing Nogiea of larceny, Okunura demotes him and then orders him to commit suicide. After Nogiea complies, Okunura accuses the nurses of his murder and orders Abby to report to his office. There, Okunura again tries to seduce Abby but is interrupted when Steve arrives with proof of Nogiea's suicide, thus freeing Abby to leave. Okunura orders Steve whipped for his insubordination, and as Abby tends to his wounds, she experiences confusing emotions toward him. Later, Steve confesses to Jardine that he and Abby were engaged and the pilot's wings she wears are his. Although the plan had been for Jardine to transmit the data to Steve, Steve decides that he, Abby and Jardine must all escape quickly before the tenacious Okunura uncovers his identity. An escape plan is devised for that night, but when Haan-Soo learns that Okunura has sent for Takishima's former commander to verify his identity, Jardine suggests setting an explosion at the munitions factory as a diversion. As Haan-Soo leaves for the plant, Okunura summons Abby to a party at his house. Under the ruse of delivering an officer to the party, Steve drives to the commander's house with Jardine hidden in the backseat of the car. At the house, Okunura has sequestered Abby in a room and is about to rape her when he sees Steve being chased across the lawn by a watchdog. Recognizing Steve as his old roommate by the way he sprints, Okunura exposes him to the assembled officers and is about to kill him when the munitions plant explodes, throwing Okunura and the others to the floor. After strangling Okunura, Steve rescues Abby and reveals his true identity to her. With the officers in pursuit, Steve, Abby and Jardine flee to the beach, where they are to be rescued by a boat. There, they are met by Haan-Soo, who joins Steve in holding off the soldiers while Abby and Jardine sail to safety. Steve and Haan-Soo's sacrifice allows for the development and deployment of the atomic bomb, assuring that "mankind can walk unafraid in peace with goodwill toward men." 

Production Company: RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.  
Distribution Company: RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.  
Director: Gordon Douglas (Dir)
  Sam Ruman (Asst dir)
Producer: Jack J. Gross (Exec prod)
  J. Robert Bren (Prod)
Writer: J. Robert Bren (Orig story)
  Gladys Atwater (Orig story)
  J. Robert Bren (Wrt by)
Photography: Harry J. Wild (Dir of photog)
Art Direction: Albert S. D'Agostino (Art dir)
  Walter Keller (Art dir)
Film Editor: Philip Martin Jr. (Ed)
Set Decoration: Darrell Silvera (Set dec)
  Charles Nields (Set dec)
Music: C. Bakaleinikoff (Mus dir)
  Leigh Harline (Mus)
Sound: John L. Cass (Rec)
  James G. Stewart (Re-rec)
Special Effects: Vernon L. Walker (Spec eff)
Make Up: Maurice Seiderman (Makeup artist)
Production Misc: R. Andrew Smith (Tech adv on Japan)
Country: United States

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc. 12/9/1945 dd/mm/yyyy LP13681

PCA NO: 10749
Physical Properties: b&w:
  Sd: RCA Sound System

 
Genre: Drama
Sub-Genre: World War II
 
Subjects (Major): Japan
  Prisoners of war
  Racial impersonation
  Self-sacrifice
  Undercover agents
  World War II
 
Subjects (Minor): Atomic bomb
  Attempted rape
  Boats
  Explosions
  Japan. Army
  Japanese
  Koreans
  Missing persons, Assumed dead
  Nurses
  Recognition
  Rescues
  Scientists
  Soldiers
  Suicide

Note: The working title of this picture was First Man into Tokyo . The film credits open on an iris shot of a map of Japan. As the lens slowly opens, the map spreads over the entire screen and production credits. The film's closing shot of the mushroom cloud produced by the atomic bomb was added after the film was completed, according to the Var review and a news item in the HR . When the bomb was dropped on Hiroshima on 6 Aug 1945, approximately five months after filming was completed, the script was rewritten to include footage of the attack on Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the closing narration extolling the virtues of the bomb was added. According to Time , the bomb footage, supplied by the war department, consisted of practice explosions that were detonated in New Mexico. This was writer J. Robert Bren's first assignment as a producer and director Gordon Douglas' last picture for RKO. Technical advisor R. Andrew Smith was a former professor at the University of Tokyo, according to a news item in HR . MPH adds that the world premiere in San Francisco was attended by servicemen who had been POW's in Japan. 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Box Office   8 Sep 1945.   
Daily Variety   31 Aug 45   p. 3.
Film Daily   5 Sep 45   p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter   5 Dec 44   p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter   9 Feb 45   p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter   15 Feb 45   p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter   2 Mar 45   p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter   31 Aug 45   p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter   5 Sep 45   p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter   29 Oct 45   p. 8.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest   17 Mar 45   p. 2366.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest   8 Sep 45   p. 2638.
New York Times   25 Sep 1945.   
New York Times   24 Oct 45   p. 18.
Time   24 Sep 1945.   
Variety   5 Sep 45   p. 15.

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
 
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