6.8/10
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The Teahouse of the August Moon (1956)

Approved | | Comedy, Drama | December 1956 (USA)
In post-WWII Japan, an American captain is brought in to help build a school, but the locals want a teahouse instead.

Director:

Daniel Mann

Writers:

John Patrick (screenplay), Vern J. Sneider (book) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
Nominated for 6 Golden Globes. Another 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Marlon Brando ... Sakini
Glenn Ford ... Capt. Fisby
Machiko Kyô ... Lotus Blossom (as Machiko Kyo)
Eddie Albert ... Capt. McLean
Paul Ford ... Col. Wainwright Purdy III
Jun Negami Jun Negami ... Mr. Seiko
Nijiko Kiyokawa Nijiko Kiyokawa ... Miss Higa Jiga
Mitsuko Sawamura Mitsuko Sawamura ... Little Girl
Harry Morgan ... Sgt. Gregovich (as Henry {Harry} Morgan)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Jane Chung Jane Chung ... Woman
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Storyline

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>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

All The Riotous Fun Of The Prize-Winning Stage Comedy!

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Japanese

Release Date:

December 1956 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

La casa de té de la luna de agosto See more »

Filming Locations:

Nara, Japan See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$3,926,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)| 4-Track Stereo | Stereo (Perspecta Sound)

Color:

Color (Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.55:1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

MGM originally wanted Gene Kelly to play Sakini. See more »

Quotes

Sakini: She says Lotus Blossom unfair competition.
Captain Fisby: Granted.
Sakini: And she say you promised her everyone gonna be equal, Boss.
Captain Fisby: And I intend to keep my word.
Sakini: She say she can't be equal, Boss, until she has everything Lotus Blossom have.
Captain Fisby: What Lotus Blossom has, the government doesn't issue!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Hollywood Mouth 2 (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

Mashunko-Bushi
(uncredited)
Written and Arranged by Kikuko Kanai
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

It's great -- but today both the Left and the Right would hate it
18 March 2014 | by elision10See all my reviews

This film made me realize how much we've lost as a country since the 1950s. According to Wikipedia at least, the book, play, and film were enormously popular for about 25 years, when political correctness set in, and liberals were oh-so-terribly aghast at Marlon Brando playing an Okinawan with a heavy accent. But it's Brando's character who is the most admirable in the movie -- sharp, perceptive, and cunning, but also warm, generous, and forgiving.

All told, it's the Okinawans who come off well -- it is we Americans who seem rather ridiculous, with our notions of winning hearts and minds and spreading democracy. Remember that this film was made just ten years after WWII, when we were up against the Soviet Union, and democracy and "the American way" were at the heart of what we thought we were all about. But here is a film that completely satirizes, if not ridicules, all that, and yet it was enormously popular.

Perhaps I'm looking at it through rose-tinted lenses -- there may well have been the Michael Savages and Rush Limbaughs of the day who inveighed against the Hollywood liberals seeking to undermine American resolve in the face of the Soviet threat and disgracing the memory of those who had died in WWII.

But I think, more accurately, it was a time of greater American self- confidence, when we were able to laugh at ourselves more easily, and weren't terrified that this, that or another group might be ticked off.

In short, this is a wise movie that should be seen by all those in power who have anything to do with how we conduct ourselves toward other nations and peoples -- as well as anyone who wants to see an entertaining but also educational film.


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