Marlon Brando went out on yet another creative limb when he insisted upon playing sly, philosophical Okinawan interpreter Sakima in the 1956 filmization of John Patrick's Broadway play Teahouse of the August Moon. While he occasionally lapses into "flied lice" stereotyping, for the most part Brando is quite effective and amusing, especially when facing up to the difficult task of speaking directly to the audience. The story is set in Okinawa in the months following V-J Day. Paul Ford (repeating his Broadway role - and replacing Louis Calhern, who died at the start of production) plays an American colonel in charge of the occupation troops. Determined to bring Western civilization to the Okinawans, the colonel assigns captain Glenn Ford to do his bidding. A habitual screw-up, Captain Ford hopes to make good by organizing the Okinawan women into a social club and by building a schoolhouse. But the villagers would rather erect a teahouse, serviced by pretty geisha girls. The ever-resourceful Sakima (Brando) does his manipulative best to curry favor with the Americans while still mollifying his own people. Co-starring in Teahouse of the August Moon is Machiko Kyo, leading lady of such Japanese film classics as Rashomon and Gate of Hell.
by Hal Erickson synopsis