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The Duke in a different kind of role,
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This review is from: The Barbarian And The Geisha [DVD] (DVD)
The story of Townsend Harris (John Wayne), the first U.S. Consul General to the Japan of 1856, sent by President Franklin Pierce and whose presence was unwelcome and how he overcame Japanese resistance to opening its shores to foreigners. Directed by John Huston, who disowned the film after 20th Century Fox severely edited the film without his input, the film is a romanticized and fabricated view of the actual events though there is apparently some basis in fact to the titillating title. Japan is beautifully photographed in CinemaScope by Charles G. Clarke (CAROUSEL) and for the most part the Japanese speak Japanese instead of English (Sam Jaffe plays Wayne's interpreter) for some authenticity. While one can't help but admire Wayne for trying to stretch himself, he can't hide his awkwardness in the role. I kept thinking how good Gregory Peck would have been in the role. There are some nice moments though like the six foot plus Wayne being bounced around by a five foot Japanese performing Jiu-Jitsu on him or the husky Wayne joining in with some Japanese dancers. The lovely Eiko Ando, in her only film role, plays the geisha of the title. The shimmering score is by Hugo Friedhofer.
The Fox DVD (an import from England) is a colorful anamorphic wide screen transfer in its original CinemaScope ratio.