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The Barbarian and the Geisha (1958)

In 1856, the first U.S. Consul General to Japan encounters the hostility of the local authorities and the love of a young geisha.

Director:

John Huston

Writers:

Charles Grayson (screenplay), Ellis St. Joseph (story)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
John Wayne ... Townsend Harris
Eiko Ando ... Okichi
Sam Jaffe ... Henry Heusken
Sô Yamamura ... Governor Tamura (as So Yamamura)
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Storyline

Townsend Harris is sent by President Pierce to Japan to serve as the first U.S. Consul-General to that country. Harris discovers enormous hostility to foreigners, as well as the love of a young geisha. Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

JOHN WAYNE on a forbidden and terrifying adventure See more »


Certificate:

TV-G | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Japanese

Release Date:

30 September 1958 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Barbarian See more »

Filming Locations:

Kyoto, Japan See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$3,500,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Twentieth Century Fox See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

4-Track Stereo (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Color (Color by Deluxe)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

Based on the true story of American diplomat Townsend Harris, his time in Japan in the 1850s and 60s, and his romance with a 17-year-old geisha named Kichi. Their story is one of the most well-known folk tales in Japan. The real Harris died in New York in 1878, and the real Kichi committed suicide in Shimoda in 1892. See more »

Goofs

The ninja, if intending to be stealthy when walking on the reed mats, would not be walking flat-footed, but would walk on the edges of his feet. See more »

Quotes

Henry Heusken: You're in good hands now.
Townsend Harris: Yes, indeed.
Okichi: Also, "yes, indeed"?
Townsend Harris: Yes, indeed!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in John Huston: The Man, the Movies, the Maverick (1988) See more »

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User Reviews

 
The Barbarian And The Geisha (John Huston, 1958) **1/2
31 August 2007 | by Bunuel1976See all my reviews

Star and director are not exactly in their element throughout this period piece (set in mid-19th century Japan and based on real events) – though John Wayne gets to brawl with a dwarf/giant combination!; apparently, Huston became fascinated with the country and its culture after viewing Akira Kurosawa’s RASHOMON (1951) and Teinosuke Kinugasa’s GATE OF HELL (1953) – in fact, he obtained the services of the latter as a “script supervisor” on this one!

Still, the film is interesting in its depiction of the clash of traditions – especially involving two countries which, a little over a decade earlier, had been deadly enemies – and, in any case, Japan was a popular venue with Hollywood during this time: witness the two back-to-back Marlon Brando vehicles THE TEAHOUSE OF THE AUGUST MOON (1956) and SAYONARA (1957). The glossy production values (courtesy of Fox) make the most of the exotic locations, but the plot itself is rather melodramatic – Wayne’s initially hostile reception, an outbreak of cholera, the assassination of a supportive Japanese leader (which threatens to throw the country into Civil War), an attempt on Wayne’s own life and the failed aggressor’s subsequent seppuku (which also terminates Wayne’s subtle romance with the geisha of the title), etc.

Finally, though as I said this is one of Wayne’s most uncharacteristic films (which I had missed out on countless times in the past but was determined to catch now in commemoration of the 20th anniversary of Huston’s passing), it’s certainly not worthy of the same level of disdain as his other Asian flick – Dick Powell’s camp classic THE CONQUEROR (1956).


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