Keisatsukan (Police Officer). 1933. Japan. Directed by Tomu Uchida. Screenplay by Eizo Yamauchi. With Eiji Nakano, Isamu Kosugi, Taisuke Matsumoto. Silent; Japanese intertitles with English subtitles. 121 min.
This tremendously stylish gangster film, about the love-hate relationship between a cop and a criminal who were childhood friends is Uchida’s finest surviving silent film. Its taut, terse style demonstrates a Western influence typical of Japan’s late silent cinema, and Uchida directs with a vitality and vehemence that brings to mind Howard Hawks and Fritz Lang. The film, which appeared against a background of real-life anxieties driven by gang violence in Tokyo, was endorsed by the city’s police force at the time of its release.