6.4/10
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Madame Butterfly (1932)

Passed | | Drama | 30 December 1932 (USA)
Lieutenant Pinkerton marries geisha-in-training but soon after abandons her and goes back to the US.

Director:

Marion Gering

Writers:

David Belasco (play), John Luther Long (story) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Credited cast:
Sylvia Sidney ... Cho-Cho San
Cary Grant ... Lieutenant B.F. Pinkerton
Charles Ruggles ... Lt. Barton
Irving Pichel ... Yomadori
Helen Jerome Eddy ... Cho-Cho's mother
Edmund Breese ... Cho-Cho's grandfather
Louise Carter ... Suzuki
Sándor Kállay Sándor Kállay ... Goro
Judith Vosselli ... Madame Goro
Sheila Terry ... Mrs. Pinkerton
Dorothy Libaire ... Peach Blossom
Berton Churchill ... American Consul
Philip Horomato Philip Horomato ... Trouble
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Charita Alden Charita Alden
Wallis Clark Wallis Clark ... Comm. Anderson
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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

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

30 December 1932 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Ein Falter flog zum Licht See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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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 »

Goofs

When the US Navy returns to Tokyo Bay/Yokohama, mountains are seen rising from the sea. There are no mountains in that area. 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

Version of Aria (2001) See more »

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User Reviews

Extremely Boring and Rather Flat
10 March 2017 | by Michael_ElliottSee all my reviews

Madame Butterfly (1932)

** (out of 4)

Liutenant B.F. Pinkerton (Cary Grant) and Lt. Barton (Charles Ruggles) are on leave in Japan when they decide to have some fun during the night. This leads them to a party with a few maiden's only to have Pinkerton quickly fall for Cho-Cho San (Sylvia Sidney) who is about to become a Geisha. Before long the two are married but shame is about to strike Cho-Cho.

MADAME BUTTERFLY was based on the David Belasco play and it was a huge hit, which made sense for Paramount to then turn it into a motion picture. Sadly, this film here is pretty darn boring from start to finish and there's really very little in it to recommend. There are all sorts of problems with this film ranging from the direction to the casting and I'd even argue that the story just doesn't translate very well to the screen here.

The biggest problem is the fact that they've got an all white cast doing these Japanese roles. Look, I understand that this was just common practice back in the day and I really don't blame the filmmakers and I'm certainly not going to go on some sort of political rant. With that said, there isn't even an attempt to make these white actors even sound Japanese. I love Sideny but she was just wrong for this role here. She might hit the dramatic notes just fine but the lack of an accent just doesn't help matters. With everyone speaking pretty much English it just makes the film seem all the more cheap.

Even Grant isn't all that good here. His charm is on 100% but the character is just rather bland as are the supporting players. Speaking of bland, director Marion Gering doesn't do a thing with the picture. Visually it's quite boring and I'd argue that the story itself drags out so badly that by the hour mark you're just ready for it to be over. MADAME BUTTERFLY has been filmed several times since but this 1932 version is just flat.


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