Blood on the Sun

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Blood on the Sun
Blood on the sun322.jpg
Directed byFrank Lloyd
Produced byWilliam Cagney
Written byGarrett Fort
Lester Cole
StarringJames Cagney
Sylvia Sidney
Music byMiklós Rózsa
CinematographyTheodor Sparkuhl
Edited byWalter Hannemann
William Cagney Productions
Distributed byUnited Artists
Release date
  • April 26, 1945 (1945-04-26) (United States)
  • June 28, 1945 (1945-06-28) (New New City)
Running time
98 minutes
94 minutes (TCM Print)
CountryUnited States
Box office$3.4 million[2][3]
Blood on the Sun

Blood on the Sun is a 1945 American drama romantic thriller war film directed by Frank Lloyd starring James Cagney and Sylvia Sidney. The film is based on a fictional history behind the Tanaka Memorial document.

The film won the Academy Award for Best Art Direction for a Black & White (Wiard Ihnen, A. Roland Fields) film in 1945.[4] A computer-colorized version of the film was created in 1993.

In 1973, the film entered the public domain in the United States because the claimants did not renew its copyright registration in the 28th year after publication.[5]


Nick Condon (James Cagney) is a journalist for the Tokyo Chronicle. He prints a story disclosing Japan's plan to conquer the world. The newspaper is seized by Japanese officers. Condon gets the Tanaka Plan, a paper in which all the plans are described. The Japanese spies who follow him think that Ollie and Edith Miller (Wallace Ford and Rosemary DeCamp) are the ones who discovered the plan because they suddenly have a lot of money and are returning to the USA. When Condon goes to the ship to bid them farewell, he finds Edith dead. Hearing someone in the adjoining room, he tries to enter, but the intruder escapes. He has only a glimpse of a woman's hand wearing a ring with a huge ruby. Returning home, he finds Ollie, badly beaten. Ollie gives him the Tanaka plan before dying.

Premier Giichi Tanaka (John Emery) wants his plans to remain secret, and sends Col. Hideki Tojo (Robert Armstrong) Capt. Oshima (John Halloran) and Hijikata (Leonard Strong) to follow him everywhere. Meanwhile, Condon hides the document with the Tanaka plan behind the portrait of Emperor Hirohito in his house.

Condon meets Iris Hilliard (Sylvia Sidney), half American and half Chinese. At first he suspects her of being the lady in the ship, then he doesn't. They fall in love. She seems to be betraying him, especially when Condon sees the ring with the ruby in her hand.

Eventually it becomes clear that she's been sent by a senior politician who wants peace and was present when the Tanaka plan was devised. Condon leaves his job after ten days. When he's about to leave Japan he meets the politician and Iris in the harbour. The politician signs the document to prove it's authentic. They are discovered by the Japanese army.

Iris runs away with the document in a cargo ship which will take her safely out of Japan. To distract the Japanese officers, Condon fights his greatest enemy and tries to reach the American Embassy. He's shot at by spies dressed in street clothes, but he's not killed. The consular adviser goes out of the Embassy and takes Condon inside, still alive, and the Japanese officers can't prevent it, because they couldn't find the Tanaka document when searching Condon.



Blood on the Sun was adapted as a radio play on the December 3, 1945 episode of Lux Radio Theater with James Cagney and on the October 16, 1946 episode of Academy Award Theater starring John Garfield.[6]


Los Angeles Policeman Jack Sergel was featured in several magazine stories listing him as a top Judo expert. William Cagney contacted him about teaching his brother James judo for the film. Sergel adopted the stage name John Halloran to appear as Cagney's opponent in the film. He later appeared in several of James Cagney's films, including teaching judo to Edmund O'Brien in White Heat,[7]

In other media[edit]

In the television series Cagney & Lacey, the character Christine Cagney has the poster of Blood on the Sun in her apartment ,[8] with the strapline "Cagney's Mightiest" adding to her characterization.[9]


  1. ^ "Indies $70,000,000 Pix Output". Variety: 3. 3 November 1944. Retrieved 26 July 2016.
  2. ^ The United Artists Story p 109
  3. ^ Balio, Tino (2009). United Artists: The Company Built by the Stars. University of Wisconsin Press. ISBN 978-0-299-23004-3. p217
  4. ^ "NY Times: Blood on the Sun". NY Times. Retrieved 2008-12-19.
  5. ^ Pierce, David (March 29, 2001). Legal Limbo: How American Copyright Law Makes Orphan Films (mp3 in "file3"). Orphans of the Storm II: Documenting the 20th Century. Retrieved 2012-01-05.
  6. ^ ""Blood on the Sun" Next "Academy" Show". Harrisburg Telegraph. October 12, 1946. p. 17. Retrieved October 1, 2015 – via open access publication – free to read
  7. ^ pp. 334-335 Weaver, Tom, Schecter, David, Kiss, Robert J. & Kronenberg, Steve Universal Terrors, 1951-1955: Eight Classic Horror and Science Fiction Films McFarland, 15 Sep. 2017
  8. ^ "Choices". Cagney & Lacey. Series 3. Episode 7. 31:46 minutes in.
  9. ^ O'Connor, John J. (1984-07-02). "'Cagney & Lacey, Police series on CBS". New York Times. Retrieved 2013-11-27.

External links[edit]