Director: Joshua Logan CastMarlon Brando, Miyoshi Umeki, Red Buttons, Patricia Owens, James Garner, Martha Scott, Ricardo Montalban, Miiko Taka, Kent Smith, Douglass Watson, Reiko Kuba, Soo Yong

Academy Awards: Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Red Buttons); Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Miyoshi Umeki); Best Art Direction-Set Decoration; Best Sound, Recording

Also Nominated For: Best Picture; Best Actor in a Leading Role (Marlon Brando); Best Director (Joshua Logan); Best Adapted Screenplay (Paul Osborn); Best Cinematography; Best Film Editing

I First Saw In: 2015

Synopsis: A U.S. Air Force major in Kobe confronts his own opposition to marriages between American servicemen and Japanese women when he falls for a beautiful performer.

Did You Know? Marlon Brando insisted on playing Ace Gruver with a Southern accent, despite opposition from the director and the producers. They felt that a West Point-educated general’s son would not speak in such a way.

And now a Word from the Guise:
Marlon Brando and James Garner in military uniforms? Where’s my fan? It’s getting too hot to handle!

But on a serious note, Sayonara does a fair enough job targeting xenophobia and racism, but it’s severely lacking in the sexism department. Indeed, I find myself wondering if Ace Gruver and Joe Kelly would have fallen in love with Hana-Ogi and Katsumi, respectively, if the women hadn’t been demure and subservient? I am thinking not, as Gruver called it off with Eileen Webster because she was a free-spirited independent woman, or at least as free-spirited and independent as 1950’s Hollywood would allow.

When Kelly is forced to go back to the States without Katsumi, Katsumi decides that she’s going to have an operation to make her eyes “look American”. Kelly freaks out, throws her to the ground, and literally threatens to kill her if she did it, but – you know – it’s okay because he then tells her that she’s perfect the way she is and would never want her to change anything about herself. It’s this sort of thing that justifies the physical and emotional abuse of women, when there is nothing that can justify it. And the problem is that these grievances are still prominently glorified in today’s cinema. And that is not okay.

Oscar Madness Ranking – ??? out of 233

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