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Madame Butterfly (1915)

The story of a Japanese woman and the tragedy that ensues when she loves an American naval officer.


Sidney Olcott


John Luther Long (novel)


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Cast overview:
Mary Pickford ... Cho-Cho-San
Marshall Neilan ... Lt. Pinkerton
Olive West Olive West ... Suzuki
Jane Hall Jane Hall ... Adelaide
Lawrence Wood Lawrence Wood ... Cho-Cho-San's Father
Caroline Harris Caroline Harris ... Cho-Cho-San's Mother
M.W. Rale M.W. Rale ... The Nakodo
William T. Carleton William T. Carleton ... The American Consul (as W.T. Carleton)
David Burton David Burton ... The Prince
Cesare Gravina Cesare Gravina ... The Soothsayer
Frank Dekum Frank Dekum ... Naval Officer


The story of a Japanese woman and the tragedy that ensues when she loves an American naval officer.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis









Release Date:

7 November 1915 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Pillangó kisasszony See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Version of Madame Butterfly (1954) See more »

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User Reviews

One Of Pickford's Worst Features
24 March 2019 | by bobliptonSee all my reviews

Mary Pickford is Cho-Cho San, a beautiful and high-ranking Japanese woman who is sold in marriage to Navy Lieutenant B.F. Pinkerton (Marshall Neilan). After a while, he is ordered back to the US. There he marries his old sweetheart, while in Japan, Mary bears him a child.

It's a pure drama. Miss Pickford has little in the way of comedy. It's also from the period when she was attempting to prove her range by playing a variety of exotic roles: Italian, French, Dutch, Hindu... it would finish near the end of the following year, when the war in Europe made American roles more popular, and then she would begin to play juvenile roles, which were even more successful.

Originally a short story by John Luther Long based on his sister's stories about being a Methodist missionary in Japan, "Madame Butterfly" was first published in 1898. It was immensely popular. By 1904, Puccini's opera was a great success. I have little doubt that everyone was pleased to see Miss Pickford bring the role to the screen; this was an era when "yellow face" roles were not an issue.

However, I find it among the weakest of Miss Pickford's features. The lack of humor, as well as Sidney Olcott's static direction, don't help, despite the pretty set and costume designs. Then too, Miss Pickford was growing tired of the rapid rate of movie production, as Adolph Zukor worked her hard to make money on her astonishingly large salary. It would come to a head within a year, and in 1917, Cecil B. Demille would direct two of her movies.

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