Director: Joshua Logan
Writer: Paul Osborn
From novel by: James A. Michener
Music: Franz Waxman
Producer: William Goetz
Keywords: Romantic Drama
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Review by dennis henderson (posted on 17-Sep-2007)
Sayonara is one of those special romance dramas of the Fifties for several reasons: it was filmed in technicolor when that medium was the exception, it involved post-war racial prejudice in Occupied Japan and the American military, and sported a first-rate
film score by Max Steiner, that included traditional as well as modern themes in his
sensitive handling of the story line. And a first-rate cast is not the least of its attributes.
Lieutenant Lloyd Gruver is an American airman stationed in Japan some six years after the War. With time on his hands, good looks, doting superiors, and an admiring
military brass's daughter, he manages to somehow cross paths with a young, but highly regarded local theater dancer, who, though very successful in her world and craft, is nontheless, deeply committed to the values of her profession and class.
Their budding romance is risky business for both of them almost from the beginning.
Pressures both from the military heirarchy, and the local 'defenders of purity' club
practically forbid any such liason, let alone marriage. Mounting difficulties on both sides of their two different worlds comes to a climax, when one of Gruvers' army buddies,who has initiated one of his own bi-racial romances, cracks to the pressures
of resentment, intolerance, and threats, and takes matters to a tragic conclusion.
The death of his two friends bursts the bubble of opposition surrounding the two lovers, who ultimately prevail over the two opposing worlds in which they found themselves trapped.
Brando's casting and acting was flawless for the role. Of special merit was Ricardo
Montalban's performance for which he won a supporting Oscar.
The film, slightly controversial for its time, remains one of my favorites, not just for the gorgeous cinematography or Steiner's exotic and nostalgic themes, but for the
sheer beauty and grace of the storytelling.
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