7.2/10
5,121
35 user 21 critic

Sayonara (1957)

A US air force major in Kobe confronts his own opposition to marriages between American servicemen and Japanese women when he falls for a beautiful performer.

Director:

Joshua Logan

Writers:

Paul Osborn (screen play), James A. Michener (based on the novel by)
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Won 4 Oscars. Another 4 wins & 18 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Marlon Brando ... Major Lloyd 'Ace' Gruver
Patricia Owens ... Eileen Webster
James Garner ... Captain Bailey
Martha Scott ... Mrs. Webster
Miiko Taka ... Hana-Ogi
Miyoshi Umeki ... Katsumi
Red Buttons ... Airman Joe Kelly
Kent Smith ... General Mark Webster
Douglass Watson Douglass Watson ... Colonel Crawford (as Douglas Watson)
Reiko Kuba Reiko Kuba ... Fumiko-San
Soo Yong Soo Yong ... Teruko-San
Shochiku Kagekidan Girls Revue Shochiku Kagekidan Girls Revue ... Theatrical Revue
Ricardo Montalban ... Nakamura
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Storyline

Major Lloyd Gruver, a Korean War flying ace reassigned to Japan, staunchly supports the military's opposition to marriages between American troops and Japanese women. But that's before Gruver experiences a love that challenges his own deeply set prejudices... and plunges him into conflict with the U.S. Air Force and Japan's own cultural taboos. Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Worlds apart...theirs was the daring love affair violating every rule, every custom, every centuries-old belief! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Japanese

Release Date:

20 December 1957 (Japan) See more »

Also Known As:

Сайонара See more »

Filming Locations:

Kyoto, Japan See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$26,300,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

4-Track Stereo (RCA Sound Recording)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Film debuts of Miiko Taka and Miyoshi Umeki. Umeki, for this debut performance, won the Best Supporting Actress Academy Award. See more »

Goofs

After the doctor examines him, Maj. Gruver buttons the left coat sleeves and after the right sleeve, keeping his left hand handling the right sleeve. In the next shot he is handling the left sleeve with his right hand. See more »

Quotes

Major Gruver: [at a traditional tea ceremony: watching, as a Japanese man spends a lot of time carefully making a cup of tea] He makes such a production of everything.
Hana-ogi: The pleasure does not lie in the end itself... it's the pleasurable steps *to* that end.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Domo Arigato (1972) See more »

Soundtracks

Narukami
(uncredited)
Words and Music by S. Oka
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
A Landmark film
23 March 2005 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

The books of James Michener taking readers to faraway places with strange sounding names were probably at their most popular in the 1940s and 1950s. His Tales of the South Pacific became a major blockbuster Broadway hit for Rodgers&Hammerstein. South Pacific was directed by Joshua Logan and he was a natural to do the film adaption of another Michener success, Sayonara.

It was only a decade before that American films during World War II did not portray the Japanese kindly. I'm sure it wasn't easy for people who fought the Pacific war to change attitudes overnight. That and a general no fraternization policy with occupied peoples in general are at the crux of this story about interracial romance.

Sayonara is a relevant film today. The military has always butted in to the personal lives of its personnel in ways no civilian employer could get away with legally. In America at the time Sayonara was made there were still miscegenation laws on the books in many states. Today gays in the military is a big issue. Someone may one day do a Sayonara like film on that issue.

Joshua Logan was on familiar ground. South Pacific also had racism as a component of its plot. With a sure hand, Logan assembled a great cast and crafts a beautiful story.

Marlon Brando, Patricia Owens, James Garner, Kent Smith some of the occidental players do a fine job. But the picture is stolen by the orientals here. Miko Taka hits the mark beautifully as Brando's love interest. But the real stars are the two that one both Supporting players Oscars, Red Buttons and Miyoshi Umeki.

Buttons is your everyman enlisted man Air Force member. He falls passionately in love with Katsumi played by Miyoshi Umeki. They marry and the military cruelly does everything they can to break them up. They presume to KNOW what's best for Buttons and Umeki. Buttons was a TV comedian and a fair talent, but he never got a part as good as this the rest of his career.

And Miyoshi Umeki's Oscar was the first one given to an oriental. It got a great deal of attention because at the time of the Academy Awards, Miyoshi was starring on Broadway in Flower Drum Song. I was privileged to see it on Broadway, it was the first Broadway show I ever saw. I still carry the memory of it.

That Oscar symbolized something else too. Our war with Japan was really over and we saw in Sayonara a great nation with a proud tradition and culture.

Ricardo Montalban plays Nakamura, a Kabuki Theatre actor. If Sayonara were done today, Logan would never get away with it. But Montalban is fine.

Good location photography and a grand story. This film should be revived more often it has a great moral.


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