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This comedy-drama is partially a gentle satire on America's drive to change the world in the post-war years. One year after World War II, Captain Fisby is sent to the village of Tobiki in Okinawa to teach the people democracy. The first step is to build a school -- but the wily Okinawans know what they really want. They tell him about their culture and traditions -- and persuade him to build something they really want instead: a teahouse. Fisby has a hard time breaking this news to his superiors. Written by
Tom Zoerner <Tom.Zoerner@informatik.uni-erlangen.de>
This film is an under-appreciated and charming little adventure set in the time immediately after World War II. It has a very enjoyable mix of some excellently-cast actors, from the laid-back Glenn Ford, the frenetic Eddie Albert, and the pompous Paul Ford, to the host of beguiling Japanese actors. Casting Marlon Brando as Sakini requires a little suspension of belief, but his contribution quickly adds to the seductive quality of the movie. It turns out to be a good send-up of the officious, but largely benign, senior military leadership of the era, but largely revolves around Glenn Ford's character, Capt. Fisby, finding his métier. Mainly it is a loving and alluring little fiction about two peoples getting to know and appreciate each other.
It is a very nice little comedy to be enjoyed, but it clearly is not meant to be a documentary representation of U.S. Military occupation forces, and if it is viewed as such, much of the magic of the movie will be lost. While it may contain a few minor instances of the attitudes of that day, some of which are no longer politically correct, there is no malice in the characterizations and the overall message is one of appreciation of both cultures. A very enjoyable way to escape the hassle and hustle of today.
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