Some mild adult themes portrayed discretely. A man and woman carry on an implied sexual relationship.
Some kissing.


Film review:Translated by www.rabudo-ru.com


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作者:他他(来自豆瓣)
来源:https://movie.douban.com/review/9824686/

A grade-A studio star vehicle for a prime Marlon Brando, Joshua Logan’s SAYONARA, complying with USA’s post-war rapprochement with Japan and Hollywood’s far-flung endeavor to marry oriental exotica with its tried-and-tested production formula, charts a defiant inter-racial romance with appeal, earnest and poignancy, but not without its ingrained stereotype of a disparate culture, also compounded by a pernicious double standard.

During the ongoing Korean War, ace fighter pilot Major Lloyd Gruver (Brando), the son of an army general and the pin-up boy of the USA air force, is seconded to the peaceful Japanese town Kobe to reunite with his fiancée Eileen (Owens), strings are pulled by her father Lt. Gen. Mark Webster (Smith). One of Lloyd’s airmen, Joe Kelly (Buttons) is hellbent on marrying an indigenous woman Katsumi (Umeki) at any cost, and Lloyd, although does not approve of his rash decision, acquiesces to be his best friend. Little does him know, himself will be enamored of Hana-ogi (Taka), the top-line trouper of Shochiku Kagekidan Girls Revue (an all female music theater troupe), and must overcome both USA military’s racist policy and suppression, and Hano-ogi’s lofty commitment to the Revue, which excludes matrimony for its performers, to get the girl, all coincides with the fortuitous passing of the law for inter-racial marriage, but for the low-ranking Kelly, his state of affairs will not be that rosy.

Earning 10 Oscar nominations and winning 4, including two for its supporting players Red Button and Miyoshi Umeki (a very first and still one-and-the-only win for any acting performer of Far Asian extraction), SAYONARA is conduced to introduce Japanese culture to any foreign eyes, Kabuki, Shochiku Revue, puppet theater (foreshadowing the tragic coda for Kelly and Katsumi), by turns, is presented to offer an absorbing but superficial overview, but ultimately, what is irresistible for Lloyd is the propaganda of a courteous, biddable wife who treats her husband like the master of her universe, risibly if slightly offensively embodied by an unfeigned, impish Umeki, her performance doesn’t live up to the hype of Oscar caliber, as the characterization of Katsumi never surpasses kin-deep tentativeness. Red Buttons has a bit more to enact as the pertinacious Kelly, sets an intrepid precedent for Lloyd to emulate his own fight for love.

Lloyd’s two girls are opposite forces, Patricia Owens’ Eileen, cannot be sated as a traditional army wife if Lloyd is not the right one for her, and her own rapport with a Kabuki star Nakamura (Montalban) is only briefly depicted, and it is not helped by the problematic double standard of casting the Mexican Montalban with artificial slanted eyes in the role, as if implying a racist undertone, which feels excruciatingly and conspicuously grating along with the Brando-Taka pair. An unsung Miiko Taka has a daunting job to achieve as the one who is designed to encompass all the virtues of a nubile Japanese woman from a westerner’s eyes, she must possess poise, elegance, passion and fidelity, vulnerable on the outside, but steely-minded when she makes up her mind, not to mention, in her first line, Hana-ogi has to divulge all her concealed feelings to a stunned Lloyd, her openness is one thing doesn’t conform to the preconception of a Japanese woman, but here Taka takes the plunge in delivering it with elucidation and self-regard, showing that Hana-ogi is a real match, not an inferior to her man, even he is the almighty Marlon Brando!

Brando, of course, is well-versed in playing up his disarming western vulgarity to contrast the superfine politesse of his oriental counterparts, sporting a drawling southern accent, he roundly kicks up his heels in the process of acculturation, occasionally pettish and frivolous (watching his scenes with a young James Garner), but dead committed in his dogged pursuit of happiness, whether inter-racial or not, Brando’s oozing star magnetism is the hard sell few audience can become immune to.

referential entry: Alain Resnais’ HIROSHIMA MON AMOUR (1959, 8.1/10); Walter Lang’s THE KING & I (1956, 5.3/10).

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