Sayonara (1957)

Not Rated   |    |  Drama, Romance


Sayonara (1957) Poster

A US Air Force major in Kobe confronts his own opposition to marriages between American servicemen and Japanese women when he falls for a beautiful performer.


7.2/10
5,433

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  • Marlon Brando and Miiko Taka in Sayonara (1957)
  • Marlon Brando and Miiko Taka in Sayonara (1957)
  • Marlon Brando with Miiko Taka in "Sayonara" 1957 Warner Bros.
  • Marlon Brando in Sayonara (1957)
  • Marlon Brando and Miiko Taka in Sayonara (1957)
  • Marlon Brando on the set of "Sayonara"

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Reviews & Commentary

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User Reviews


3 July 2004 | Gooper
Now that Brando has left the building...
Brando's position in the pantheon of the greats is secure. Now that

he is gone, (his life expired just yesterday) it will be worthwhile to

review his legacy. Pictures like 'Sayonara', which were grade 'A'

productions, but subject to criticism when they came out ,can now

be viewed in a new light. We can now see the care lavished upon

them. 'Sayonara' is a superb film in every category.

Brando's odd (to say the least) 'southern' accent proves to be a

brilliant choice in defining his character's contrasting presence in

the Japanese scene, an approach he would employ later in his

amazing, bizarre interpretation of Fletcher Christian. Whatever one

thinks of Brando's choices in tackling a role, he was never dull,

and watching him experiment is a viewer's treat. And Miyoshi

Umeki: what a discovery! The portrayal of those in Japan who are

just living their lives is done with sensitivity and humanity.

Just as important as the stars' performance and the story itself, is

Franz Waxman's music. It cannot be praised too highly, and is a

perfect example of a meticulously crafted score: mature, totally

sincere, and without one trace of cynicism or misdirection. Film

music like this is safe from being taken for granted. Waxman's

theme for the Red Buttons/Miyoshi Umeki relationship is among

the most poignant and haunting even written for the screen. Its

variations range from wistful to heartbreaking.

None other than Irving Berlin supplied the title song (he gets as

much screen credit as Waxman!). No pop hit, it nevertheless

integrates well with Waxman's score.

Ellsworth Fredericks' masterful Technirama lensing makes this

picture one of the best of the 50s. Seeing it in widescreen is a

thrilling event. The title sequence, in red lettering, is a fine example

of how every department, even one which deals with the 'job' of

giving credit, made sure that each element of a film like this

worked in concert with each other, to create a cohesive whole.

What a pleasure it is to have a proper introduction to a film, with

visuals and overture tailored to the drama to come. Such was the

style then. Bill Goetz produced. Thanks, Bill!

Josh Logan as a director is often reviled, but why is it then, that his

pictures are especially enjoyable, particularly with repeat

viewings? His huge closeups are terrific! He really went for the

gusto in splashing his stories on the screen, and made the most

of the 'big Hollywood production' thing.

Jack L. Warner's mid to late 50s productions rivaled 20th-Fox's in

lavishness and quality. Fortunately for us, the fans of pictures like

'Sayonara', he and Zanuck always tried to outdo each other.

Tonight, to honor the memory of Marlon Brando, I'm rolling

'Sayonara'.

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