Review of Three Came Home (1950)

Moving picture, 106 minutes

Seen in 2019.

Western women in two relatively fancy Japanese POW camps.

Surprisingly sensitive. The Romanian director uses Japanese actors speaking naturalistically, not as villains, and steers away both from the worst atrocities of the Japanese camps and from most genre tropes. It’s not about the medical experiments, the slave labour or the high fatality rates. Realistically, some of the Japanese are assholes, while Hayakawa gets to play the somewhat naïve classist colonel who loses it all; an appropriately tragic figure.

As the preface says, the exteriors were shot (“photographed”) on location. This was an excellent choice. The dim figures in the night shots have the simplicity of existentialism.

References here: Jimmie (2017).

moving picture fiction