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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
"Child of the Regiment" was a 20th Century Fox TV episode from 1956 of
their Fox's weekly show that remade previous Fox theatrical movies for
television. On this episode the lovely and talented Teresa Wright plays
Janice Wainer an American housewife married to a career Army captain
played by Robert Preston stationed in Japan just after WWII.
The program opens with an earthquake in Japan were the Wainer's are stationed. Mrs. Wainer (Teresa Wright) has just had a miscarriage. The distraught couple decide to adapt a young (eight?) Japanese girl named Mari, who just lost her parents in the earthquake.
They take their young daughter to Hawaii. There they are met with racial discrimination against Mari by Captain Wainer's commanding officer and his family. They still hold a grudge against all Japanese since the war. Mari is hurt when she is called a "gook" by the commanding officer's daughter. When Janice Wainer stands up for her daughter against all of the insults, her husband, says little in her defense fearing that any remarks will hurt his military career.
Hurt by the comments and fearing she is coming between her parents, Mari runs away from home. Everyone searches for her. Finally she is found by her father. The racist commanding officer is transferred to Japan (to teach him a lesson)and Mari is accepted as a "child of the regiment".
Any film, TV program or stage production with Teresa Wright is worth seeing. However, this program was clearly on a small budget, and had to fit the confines of a sixty-minute television program. Preston is miscast in the lead role. He has no chemistry with Ms.Wright. The little girl who played Mari was very cute and seemed a fine young actress. However, she seemed to have too many lines in the script. She would talk endlessly to everyone. She would walk right up to others and talk to them. I think that a young child from Japan just adopted by an American couple would not speak perfect English and would be shy around strangers or people who don't like her.
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