There is no mistaking on which side of the political coin the 1955 William Wellman film “Blood Alley” was stamped, as it is a right-wing, anti-Communist diatribe of the most unabashedly jingoistic variety, highlighting Asian characters in one-dimensional major roles that are usually criticized as being typically stereotypical portraits of native Chinese (many, but not all portrayed by non-Asians including the particularly ridiculous examples of Mike Mazursky and Anita Ekberg!), though the fact that most of these characters are intelligent, prone to self-sacrifice and resourceful seems to count for little in the relentless sniffing out for perceived politically incorrect ethnic insensitivity. The fact that the script by Albert Sidney Fleischman is as dumb as a leaky bag of doorknobs generates less offense as stupidity in the service of popular Art is of a far lesser order of offense (and far more expected) than any breach in the abstract standards directing any culture monitor’s self-righteous egoism. None of this would matter much and could be casually regarded as so much movie hokum if the plot itself weren’t so openly proud of being so irredeemably stupid, but such are the characteristics of the blacklist-safe dumbing down of global politics and foreign cultures by way of Hollywood under the Production Code.
Taken on its own terms, “Blood Alley” plays more like a comic strip version of an action-adventure film- an amalgam of Terry and the Pirates and Scorchy Smith -than as a serious statement concerning the oppressive fist of the Red Menace bearing down on hapless innocents, as the Communist antagonists simply seem too easily fooled and blind to obvious anti-authoritarian stratagems to be seriously regarded as much of a serious threat. In fact, without the constant reminder of Roy Webb’s often bombastic scoring, it would be easy to forget that there any oppressive forces within throwing distance. (The commies represented by approaching and dispatching landing boats filled with well groomed soldiers and troops marching up the picturesque staircase of the Chiku Shan setting in precise unison; no doubt meant to set up a visual dichotomy between the inhumane order of Communism as opposed to the more ramshackle, disordered climate of the villagers who are represented in terms of genuine Salt of the Earth peasant-class Hollywood humanism in that they always have a convenient number of chickens they cart along with them.)
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