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Film: Sayonara

The 2nd most quintessential Mighty Whitey and Mellow Yellow movie, after The World Of Suzie Wong.

Lloyd Gruver (Marlon Brando), a United States Air Force Major stationed in Korea whose father is a four-star general and who is prejudiced against Asians, is irritated that many of his friends and associates are marrying Asian women (something which the U.S. Military as a whole strongly disapproves of). He is transferred to a desk job in Kobe, Japan, under command of his father's friend—three-star general Webster (Kent Smith). Lyold is engaged to Webster's daughter, Eileen (Patricia Owens), but he doesn't seem particularly attracted to her. Reluctantly, he serves as the best man at the wedding of his crew chief Joe Kelly (Red Buttons) to local woman Katsumi (Miyoshi Umeki). Gruver finds his prejudices challenged when he himself falls in love with the beautiful Takarazuka actress/dancer Hana-ogi (Miiko Taka)...

By today's standards, the film largely comes off as dated—perhaps even racist—, between the 50s melodrama and stereotypical portrayal of Japan and Japanese women. In 1957, however, a film portraying Japan and interracial marriages in a sympathetic light was a risque rarity, especially considering that director Joshua Logan had initially wanted Audrey Hepburn for Taka's role, and that the book it was based on ended with Gruver and Taka deciding that they would never be compatible and breaking up.

Earned Best Supporting Actor awards for Red Buttons and Miyoshi Umeki—making her the first and only Asian performer to win said award.


This film provides examples of:


Peyton PlaceFilms of the 1950sThe Seventh Seal

alternative title(s): Sayonara
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