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Townsend Harris is sent by President Pierce to Japan to serve as the first U.S. Consul-General to that country. Harris discovers enormous hostility to foreigners, as well as the love of a young geisha. Written by
Jim Beaver <email@example.com>
John Huston later dismissed this film, claiming that the final version, re-cut by the studio, didn't resemble his vision at all and that he would've liked to have his name removed from the credits. Stylistically, Huston wanted to make it a particularly Japanese film in terms of photography, pacing, color and narration. According to him, only bits of this attempt were still intact and visible in the theatrical version. See more »
At one point, Townsend calls to his Chinese servant Sam; this was not, as some thought, a mistaken reference to an actor's real name. See more »
Surprising social sensitivity so soon after a horrific war.
When you consider that this movie was made only 13 years after the end of the war in the Pacific, with its brutality and carnage, it is quite surprising to see that the "The Barbarian and the Geisha" tries to to present the clash of cultures, 100 years earlier, with such apparent equity and fairness.
While some may see John Wayne as the archetypical posterboy for American jingoism, in fact his character clearly tries to understand the country in which he is trying to establish the consulate, and shows genuine remorse, not arrogance, in noting that in early part of his assignment, all that the Americans had established was a cholera epidemic and the torching of the city to quell it.
While the interracial love story behind the title was somewhat superficial, I thought that the more important aspects of colliding cultures and political shadowboxing was quite interesting and well presented.
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