Marlon Brando's part in the movie was so convincingly Japanese, that many theater managers reported moviegoers coming to them and demanding their money back because (to put it simply) Marlon never appeared on screen.
Production began with Louis Calhern playing Col. Purdy, but Calhern died after more than a month of filming. His scenes were reshot with Paul Ford.
The original Broadway production of "The Teahouse of the August Moon" by John Patrick opened at the Martin Beck Theater in New York on October 15, 1953, ran for 1027 performances and won the 1954 Tony Award for the Best Play. Paul Ford recreated his stage role in the movie version.
The play "The Teahouse of the August Moon" won the Pulitzer Prize in Drama in 1954.
On Okinawa, the village of Tobiki where the story is supposed to take place, does not really exist. However, on the southern part of the island near the capital city of Naha, there really is a Teahouse of the August Moon, which is now a popular restaurant that features local cuisine and Ryukyuan folk dancing.
There was a good deal of tension between Marlon Brando and Glenn Ford during production.
Before the invasion by American troops, the naval bombardment sent almost 400,000 tons of explosive shells onto the island, the most intense naval support for any of the Pacific landings. The native Okinawans called it "the typhoon of steel."
The year the film was released, Paul Ford was gaining popularity as Colonel Hall in "The Phil Silvers Show."
There were roughly 400,000 civilians on Okinawa at the time of the bombardment and invasion by American soldiers and Marines. Many thousands of them died.
Marlon Brando claimed Glenn Ford was trying to steal every scene that they had together. As such, Brando returned the favour on a few occasions.
There was a rivalry between Glenn Ford and Marlon Brando on the set, both had different way of acting. Brando loved improvisational techniques, whilst Ford did not. So, Ford decided sometimes to destabilize Brando by improvising himself. But director Daniel Mann got upset because of those childish games between the two stars and ordered them to stop those tricks.
Producers begged Glenn Ford to take a plane to get from Japan to the USA, to proceed the shooting in studios, instead of a ship. Glenn Ford was afraid of flights. He eventually took a plane despite his fears, but the plane had an engine issue that forced him to hardly reach LAX airport. Glenn Ford then swore that he would never get into a plane again.
The role played by Marlon Brando was played by David Wayne during the stage production.
Louis Calhern died during the shooting of a heart attack. His wife left him just before and he was drunk very often.