Based on a play by Evan Wylie and Jack Ruge, Joe Butterfly also bears the influence of Teahouse of the August Moon. The title character, played by Burgess Meredith, is a wily Japanese wheeler-dealer who offers his services as interpreter to the American GIs occupying postwar Tokyo (where the film was lensed). But Joe's "services" go above and beyond the call of duty, not to mention military protocol. To make certain that the local Army newspaper will continue to meet its deadlines as more and more soldiers march into Japan, Joe sets up the paper's staff in a luxurious private home. Top-billed Audie Murphy plays an army photographer who can't seem to adjust himself to military life, while Kieko Shima portrays Murphy's Japanese sweetheart. While Joe Butterfly is well cast and smartly directed, star Burgess Meredith always felt that the film could have been better had the Universal-International production staff had more faith in the project.
by Hal Erickson synopsis