Sayonara

  • Film
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This operatic picture from James A Michener's novel has worn remarkably well. An ace fighter pilot (Brando) is unwillingly pulled from combat in the Korean War and sent to Japan so that romance can blossom with a general's daughter. The affair falters and the pilot slowly falls for the distant charms of a Japanese actress (Miiko Taka). The big theme is the injustice of the US policy of the day discouraging but not forbidding American servicemen from taking Japanese brides. The cruelty of this policy, demonstrated in a powerful subplot which ends in a double suicide, cuts through the film's overlay of exoticism and romantic sentimentality. Brando, more matinee idol than Method actor, and none the worse for that, is contained and always watchable; but Red Buttons, in his first major role, as a chipper, angry young flier, with no family in America but the possibility of a life in Japan, gives perhaps the more heartfelt performance.

Release details

Duration: 147 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Joshua Logan
Screenwriter: Paul Osborn
Cast: Marlon Brando
Red Buttons
Miiko Taka
Miyoshi Umeki
James Garner
Patricia Owens
Ricardo Montalban
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