“I find myself becoming intrigued by everything in Japan.”
A soldier (Marlon Brandon) stationed in Japan during the Korean War serves as best man when his friend (Red Buttons) marries a Japanese woman (Miyoshki Umeki); soon he falls in love himself with a beautiful Japanese singer (Miiko Taka). Brandon’s former fiancee (Patricia Owens) and her general-father (Kent Smith) try to warn Buttons and Brando that their actions are against military regulations, but the men’s love is stronger than the institutionalized racism that surrounds them.
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- Cross Cultural Romance
- James Garner Films
- Joshua Logan Films
- Marlon Brando Films
- Race Relations and Racism
- Red Buttons Films
- Ricardo Montalban Films
Joshua Logan directed this adaptation of James Michener’s novel about the taboo of cross-cultural romances in the 1950s. Brando’s “natural” performance (he was apparently a childish pill on set) doesn’t really fit with the overall tone of the film; faring much better is Oscar-winning Red Buttons as an “ordinary” G.I. whose love of his Japanese wife feels much more grounded and authentic than Brando’s semi-stalking (orientalist?) fascination with beautiful Taka. To its credit, the film tackles challenging topics such as institutionalized racism, reminding or informing modern audiences exactly how racist and nationalist both America and Japan were during this era. Meanwhile, the movie is gorgeously filmed in Technirama, making it a visual treat.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Red Buttons as Joe
- Beautiful cinematography and sets
No, but it’s certainly worth a one-time look.