I’m sorry to report that Stopover Tokyo is a slow-moving melodrama that retains none of the thrill-a-minute spirit of the 30s Moto movies. The adaptation may have gained some A-picture prestige with top young studio stars and exotic location photography in Japan, but it lost nearly all of the action and excitement. Still, it’s an interesting curiosity for spy buffs because it came at an odd time, well after the black and white wartime movies about intrepid G-men and reporters cracking nefarious spy rings, but just before James Bond defined the genre for the Cold War, technicolor era.
The moral of the story is that spies can’t have relationships; they must sacrifice that luxury for dedication to country. "Even if you ever found a girl and really fell in love," Collins tells her two disappointed suitors, "you’d cheat on her. With your job." It’s not a bad theme, but one that would be explored to much better effect in countless spy movies yet to come.
The commentary track by film historian Aubrey Solomon is only a partial commentary, and that proves a really good choice. Apparently Solomon didn’t have a whole movie’s worth of comments to share about Stopover Tokyo (and who can blame him?) so he only talks about select scenes. Fortunately, you’re able to skip directly from one bit of talking to the next with the chapter button, so it’s easy to hear the entirety of his discussion fairly quickly. And everything he does say is interesting and apropos. In my opinion, this is vastly preferable to sitting through a meandering feature-length track and hearing a lot of rubbish only to get the same amount of worthwhile information!