Vadim Rizov Reviews House of Bamboo

The best—or least most characteristically forceful—Samuel Fuller movies veer excitedly from one violent moment and camera movement to the next, like someone justifiably punching you in the face. 1955’s House of Bamboo is a calmer production. Fuller novices shouldn’t start here: for a introduction to the two-fisted director’s earlier work, try on the sleazy Cold War noir Pickup on South Street (made two films before this) or 1957’s Forty Guns, a widescreen Western that often accelerates to warp speed. House of Bamboo has patches of standard-issue narrative tissue to get through, and the camera’s less mobile and impulsive than usual. Compared with, say, 1952’s Park Row, in which Fuller tracks so fast the camera gets wobbly out of sheer urgency (speed trumps thought), Bamboo is more tableaux-bound.

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