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Madame Butterfly (1932)

 -  Drama  -  30 December 1932 (USA)
6.5
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Lieutenant B.F. Pinkerton is on shore-leave in Japan. He and his buddy Lieutenant Barton, out for a night on the town, stop in at a local establishment to check out the food, drink and ... See full summary »

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Title: Madame Butterfly (1932)

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Cast

Credited cast:
...
...
...
...
...
Edmund Breese ...
Louise Carter ...
Sándor Kállay ...
Judith Vosselli ...
Madame Goro
Sheila Terry ...
Dorothy Libaire ...
Peach Blossom
Berton Churchill ...
Philip Horomato ...
Trouble
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Wallis Clark ...
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Storyline

Lieutenant B.F. Pinkerton is on shore-leave in Japan. He and his buddy Lieutenant Barton, out for a night on the town, stop in at a local establishment to check out the food, drink and girls, 'uh, and girls' to quote Lt. Barton. Pinkerton spies Cho-Cho San and immediately falls in lust. Barton counsels Pinkerton that he can 'marry' this beautiful Japanese girl, enjoy himself with cultural approval, then sail happily on back to America unshackled, since abandonment equates divorce in Japan. Barton assures Pinkerton that once abandoned, Cho-Cho will be free to marry whomever she chooses from amongst the Japanese people. When Pinkerton's ship sails out of port, Butterfly waits patiently for her husband to come home. Three years pass. Ever with her eye toward the harbor, Butterfly holds a secret delight that she eagerly wishes to surprise her husband with: their son. Pinkerton arrives in Japan with his American bride by his side. He goes to Butterfly to make his apologies and to finally ... Written by Debbie Dunlap <dwdunlap@erols.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

japan | based on play | See All (2) »

Genres:

Drama

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Details

Country:

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Release Date:

30 December 1932 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Ein Falter flog zum Licht  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

"Lux Radio Theater" broadcast a 60 minute radio adaptation of the movie on March 8, 1937 with Cary Grant reprising his film role. See more »

Quotes

Cho-Cho San: Do not weep, Mama-san.
Cho-Cho's mother: But you are so young and never have you been away from home before.
Cho-Cho San: But consider Mama-san, soon I shall be very great geisha and then you and the august grandfather and the little brother will have much money.
Cho-Cho's grandfather: This is no place for the daughter of my son, the daughter of a noble samurai. I should never have consented to your coming here.
Cho-Cho San: But we must live and I'm the only one who can work and help.
Cho-Cho's grandfather: Your father died with honour when he could no longer live with honour.
Cho-Cho San: Is it...
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Mystery Science Theater 3000: Gamera vs. Guiron (1991) See more »

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User Reviews

"Till Death Due Us Part"
30 November 2002 | by (Kissimmee, Florida) – See all my reviews

MADAME BUTTERFLY (Paramount, 1932), directed by Marion Gering, stars Sylvia Sidney in one of her most atypical movie roles of her career, as well as memorable, that of a Japanese maiden. Those familiar with the Giacomo Puccini opera of that same name, will take notice that this screen adaptation is not an operatic reproduction but just simply a straightforward dramatic story in itself.

As for the plot, Lieutenant Benjamin Franklin Pinkerton (Cary Grant) and Lieutenant Barton (Charlie Ruggles) are two American Navy officers on shore in Japan. At a gathering, Pinkerton meets Cho-Cho San (Sylvia Sidney), a beautiful Japanese maiden who is about to become a Geisha. She disgraces her family by accepting Pinkerton's love to become his bride. Although she takes her marriage vows seriously, theirs are not truly bound with love. After the "honeymoon" is over, Pinkerton returns to the states with the fleet, with Cho-Cho San, whom Pinkerton has nicknamed "Butterfly," remaining in Japan where she keeps his home until he returns. Three years pass. During that time, Cho-Cho San, has given birth to a son she names "Trouble" (Philip Horomate). She is still confident that someday her husband will return to her. But what has happened to Pinkerton during that time? Did he go down with his ship? No quite. He has married his fiancé, an American girl named Adelaide (Sheila Terry), whom he intends on taking with him to Japan.

Sylvia Sidney, who by this time has been playing tragic American heroines in such Depression dramas as AN American TRAGEDY and STREET SCENE (both 1931), resumes playing this sort of role, but this time as a Japanese girl. She gives a believable performance, particularly with her round doll face features. Cary Grant, still relatively new to films and on a fast rise to leading man status, is acceptable as Pinkerton, giving one of his more noted performances during his early years as a screen actor, which began the very year of the release of MADAME BUTTERFLY. Charlie Ruggles provides some humorous moments as Barton.

The supporting cast includes: Helen Jerome-Eddy and Grandma San; Edmund Breese as Cho-Cho's grandfather; Sandor Kallay as Goro; with Irving Pichel as Yomadori; Berton Churchill as Sharpless; and Louise Carter as Suzuki.

Rarely seen in recent years, MADAME BUTTERFLY used to have frequent revivals during the mid afternoon or after midnight hours on commercial television way back in the 1960s and 70s, and with Cary Grant who had reached super star status in motion pictures lasting more than 20 years (retiring in 1966), his name alone would guarantee viewer-ship whenever shown.

While MADAME BUTTERFLY is an acceptable version based on David Belasco's play, the plot, however, can be a trifle slow at times during its 85 minutes of screen time, but Sylvia Sidney's performance, the presence of Cary Grant, as well as the reproduction of Japanese settings, make this curio worth watching, it it could ever be found or revived again. (***)


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