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A third-rate magician tours Japan with the USO.
After being unemployed for six months, inept magician Gilbert Wooley, accompanied by his beloved, clever rabbit Harry, signs on for a USO tour of Japan. At the Los Angeles airport, Gilbert incurs the wrath of movie star Lola Livingston when she blames him for causing her poodle to bark, thereby making an officer enforce the regulation that no pets are allowed. Worried that his act will be ruined without Harry, Gilbert hides him in his trunk, then orders several carrot salads so that he can feed the rabbit. After everyone is asleep, Gilbert sneaks into the cargo hold to feed Harry, but the bunny escapes and in the ensuing chaos, Gilbert inadvertently releases an expanding life raft that traps commanding officer Maj. Ridgley in Lola's sleeping berth. The next morning, sympathetic WAF sergeant Betty Pearson reveals to Gilbert that she is aware of his complicity in the incident and advises him to apologize to Lola before she can complain to the press about Ridgley and ruin his career. When Lola, dressed in an evening gown, is about to descend the stairs leading from the plane, Gilbert approaches her, and as she rebuffs him, he becomes entangled in her skirt and rips it off. They both tumble down the stairs and Gilbert, trying to cover the now-exposed Lola, wraps her in the red carpet laid down to greet her. Their shenanigans are photographed by the waiting press and delight six-year-old orphan Mitsuo Watanabe, who has accompanied his aunt, translator Kimi Sikita, to the airport. That night, Kimi and Mitsuo visit Gilbert at his hotel, where Kimi explains that Gilbert is the first person to make the despondent Mitsuo laugh since the deaths of his parents. Kimi and her father had despaired of ever seeing the boy happy again, and she expresses her gratitude to Gilbert, who is delighted both by the charming youngster and his lovely aunt. Kimi responds to Gilbert's compliments by informing him that she is engaged to Ichiyama, Japan's foremost baseball pitcher, but Mitsuo makes up for the disappointment by telling Gilbert that he loves him and asking him to be his father. Touched by Mitsuo's admiration for his selflessness in coming to entertain the troops, Gilbert promises to visit the boy soon. Meanwhile, private detective Osokawa informs the jealous Ichiyama, who has hired him to follow Kimi, that Kimi visited a foreigner. Soon after, the immense Ichiyama bursts into Gilbert's room and begins chasing him through the streets of Tokyo. Gilbert and Harry wind up in a bathhouse but are able to escape by tripping Ichiyama so that he falls into a huge pool occupied by Lola. A large tidal wave floods the street, and the next morning, an infuriated Ridgley fires Gilbert for having caused a public relations nightmare. Gilbert asserts that while he initially came on the USO tour solely to make money, he now wants to help the troops because of Mitsuo's faith in him, but Ridgley still orders him home. Outside headquarters, Gilbert runs into Mitsuo and Kimi, who tells him that she has broken her engagement to Ichiyama, and that Mitsuo has been praying for Gilbert to be with him always. Gilbert confesses to Kimi that he received a "dishonorable discharge," but Betty overhears and, wanting to help Gilbert keep Mitsuo's high regard, lies to Gilbert, telling him that Ridgley changed his mind and wants him to go alone to Korea to "headline" his own tour. Gilbert is sent to the front lines and finds himself performing for weary, hungry men one at a time in foxholes within dangerous proximity to enemy fire. Despite the difficult conditions and the occasional attempt by a G.I. to eat Harry, Gilbert perseveres. Eventually Gilbert returns to Tokyo and immediately visits Kimi and Mitsuo, who are overjoyed to see him. Gilbert also meets Kimi's father, who is obsessed with building a wooden bridge over the family's large swimming pool. During dinner, Gilbert informs the family that he will be returning to America, as the publicity surrounding his Japanese antics has secured him a booking in Las Vegas. Kimi's father implores Gilbert to stay and live with them so that Mitsuo will continue to be happy, and although Gilbert regretfully demurs, he agrees to spend a day touring Tokyo with the child. The pair spend a happy day together seeing many sights and even take in a baseball game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Tokyo Tonichi, for whom Ichiyama pitches. After Gilbert's taunts cause Ichiyama to throw a ball into Gilbert's mouth, Gilbert and Mitsuo leave and end their evening with dinner at a Geisha house. Gilbert then carries the sleeping child home and bids a silent farewell to Kimi with a kiss. The next day at the airport, Gilbert is astonished to find himself being followed by Mitsuo, who carries a suitcase on which he has written "The Great Wooley, Jr." Knowing that he must somehow force the youngster to return home, Gilbert yells at him, telling Mitsuo that he no longer loves him and does not want to be his father. Despite his tears, the resolute Mitsuo stows away on the plane. After Gilbert disembarks in Los Angeles and gets a cab, he finds Mitsuo in his trunk and happily promises the child that they will always be together. Unfortunately, Mitsuo's absence has been reported as a kidnapping, and Ridgley, Betty and the police track down Gilbert and Mitsuo. Mitsuo is soon put on a plane returning to Tokyo, but unknown to him, Gilbert and Harry have stowed away on his plane. Gilbert writes a note to Kimi to collect a trunk with a big X on it, slips the note into the sleeping Mitsuo's pocket, then hides in the baggage. Although the trunk is battered severely, Kimi and her father succeed in rescuing Gilbert and Harry, and after they recover from their adventures, Gilbert and Harry are joined by Kimi and Mitsuo in a new, successful magic act. While performing one night, Gilbert pulls Harry out of his top hat and is astonished to see numerous baby bunnies following Harry, who is actually a "Harriette."
Cast & Crew
|MPAA Ratings:||Premiere Info:||New York opening: 23 Dec 1958; Los Angeles opening: 31 Dec 1958|
|Release Date:||1958||Production Date:||
[VistaVision Motion Picture High-Fidelity]
UCLA has a 35mm print (beat-up - may not be runnable) R-A3-112-2, M34193; AFI
|Color/B&W:||Color (Technicolor)||Distributions Co:||Paramount Pictures Corp.|
|Sound:||Mono||Production Co:||York Pictures Corp., Paramount Pictures Corp.|
|Duration(mins):||95 or 98||Country:||United States|
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Love this movie, release it on dvd already!
Please add this movie to ur colleciton!!!!!!!!!!!!
This is one of my favorite childhood movies. I look everywhere for the DVD, but its not out yet on DVD.. So please add this to ur collection at TCM so we...
The Geisha Boy (Or The Little Geisha)
I saw this movie several times as a youth. It's Jerry Lewis. So you know it's gonna be funny. To me it shows a greater depth to Mr. Lewis. That...