Cast & Crew
In Japan in Sep 1945, Yank magazine editor Sergeant Ed Kennedy and his staff, photographer Private John Woodley and correspondents Sergeant Jim McNulty, Sergeant Dick Mason and Chief Yeoman Saul Bernheim, board a transport ship to cover the surrender of the Japanese Army. Woodley, a charming troublemaker, dispatches with rival Harold Hathaway, editor of the civilian magazine Trend , by pushing him off the plane. Later, the Yank staff celebrate their imminent discharges with martinis made from Colonel E. E. Fuller's gin and prized olives, which Woodley has stolen. At the same time that they learn they will have to stay in Tokyo another three days to produce the first post-war Yank issue, Fuller discovers both the theft of his gin and the mistreatment of Hathaway, and orders that the recently demoted Woodley be discharged immediately. The four remaining staffers move on to Tokyo, where thousands of American soldiers are competing for space in the hastily erected military headquarters. The staffers' attempt to get to work is beset with problems: First, Fuller's assistant, Sergeant Oscar Hulick, forces them to set up their office in the crowded enlisted men's barracks, and soon after, Hathaway bribes them with job offers at Trend in exchange for missing their deadline, so he can be the first to publish in Japan. In addition, they meet Japanese con man Joe Butterfly, who has signed a secret contract with Hulick to sell confiscated Army supplies on the Japanese black market. The goods are locked inside Hulick's rolltop desk, so when he is suddenly ordered to move to a new office, leaving his furniture behind, Joe watches over the desk covetously. Ed commandeers it, not knowing what is inside, but Joe offers to find him a cushy office in trade for it. Joe brings the staff to the home of Mr. Sakiama in an impoverished village nearby, furtively promising the owner that the presence of the Americans will mean more food and supplies for the village. Ed moves in but remains suspicious of his hosts, especially after the young boy sings "You Are My Sunshine," the song Tokyo Rose played with torturous frequency during the war. Soon after, Hulick arrives to reclaim his desk, but after Joe deliberately calls him "partner," Ed insists that the desk be opened, and finds the goods inside. Joe offers Ed the contract to use as blackmail against Hulick, who agrees not to report the Yank 's unorthodox office space to the colonel. Ed tries to chastise Joe, but when Joe points out that "honest man watch children starve," Ed instead agrees to give the goods to the villagers. The staff faces further pressure to keep their presence a secret when another colonel, Hopper, asks to bunk with them, but McNulty lies that the area is reserved for the top-secret project of an eminent general. The next day, Joe arrives with Woodley, who has gone AWOL from the transport ship in order to help his mates finish the magazine. Their boss, Major Ferguson, visits, and Ed manages to hide Woodley and convince the kindly officer that they will only be off the base for the two days remaining to them to publish the magazine. Hulick then visits triumphantly with an intercepted cable about Woodley's disappearance, but faced once again with his black-market contract, agrees to find new orders for Woodley to ship out. Meanwhile, the village is growing with what Joe calls his "cousins," who pilfer bits of building materials and food. When Ed catches him with a stolen crate of gourmet food, the others talk him into allowing a village party, at which Woodley woos Sakiama's daughter, Chieko. Hathaway sneaks in, and after he spots Woodley, the crafty private convinces Hathaway to trade his silence for the inside scoop on the real Tokyo Rose. Since Woodley is bluffing, the Americans scramble to find a Japanese woman who speaks fluent English. The next day, Joe takes Woodley around Tokyo, where the photographer captures images of a destitute people trying to rebuild their country. He later shows the photos to Ed, suggesting a pictorial story to urge the American soldiers to get to know the people they are no longer fighting. As he is tending to the skinned knee of a local boy, Ed spurns the idea as sentimental. Ferguson soon appears, however, and discovers Woodley, and Ed must soothe his superior with a moving account of how the magazine plans to teach GIs to "unlearn their hate." Meanwhile, Joe locates a Japanese-American girl, but her thick Brooklyn accent prompts the boys to give her diction lessons, and hours later, her new accent fools Hathaway. Hulick then arrives with low-level orders for Woodley to be sent to Guam, but the men steal Hulick's own stateside discharge. The next day, the men and Chieko see Woodley off, but soon realize that he has mistakenly left with the magazine layout. Just then, Hathaway sneaks in and hears "Tokyo Rose" speak. The men imprison him in the closet, and soon after, Woodley rushes back in with the pictures just in time for the magazine to go to print. Fuller loves the issue, but soon after discovering that the Yank staff has been living off the base and stealing rations from all over the Army, storms into Sakiama's, vowing to court-marital them. Counter-intelligence interrupts him, however, inquiring about a photo Woodley's took of a woman in a bread line, as she is suspected of being Tokyo Rose. Woodley is forced to come out of hiding, and although he cannot remember where he took the picture, Joe enters with the woman in the photo in tow. The next day, as the Yank staffers prepare to return home, they watch as Joe swindles Hopper out of money and food in exchange for a room.
John J. Holland
Leslie I. Carey
George M. Cohan
Brig. Gen. Frank Dorn Usa, Ret.
Russell A. Gausman
TCM Remembers - John Agar
Popular b-movie actor John Agar died April 7th at the age of 81. Agar is probably best known as the actor that married Shirley Temple in 1945 but he also appeared alongside John Wayne in several films. Agar soon became a fixture in such films as Tarantula (1955) and The Mole People (1956) and was a cult favorite ever since, something he took in good spirits and seemed to enjoy. In 1972, for instance, the fan magazine Famous Monsters of Filmland mistakenly ran his obituary, a piece that Agar would later happily autograph.
Agar was born January 31, 1921 in Chicago. He had been a sergeant in the Army Air Corps working as a physical trainer when he was hired in 1945 to escort 16-year-old Shirley Temple to a Hollywood party. Agar apparently knew Temple earlier since his sister was a classmate of Temple's. Despite the objections of Temple's mother the two became a couple and were married shortly after. Temple's producer David Selznick asked Agar if he wanted to act but he reportedly replied that one actor in the family was enough. Nevertheless, Selznick paid for acting lessons and signed Agar to a contract.
Agar's first film was the John Ford-directed Fort Apache (1948) also starring Temple. Agar and Temple also both appeared in Adventure in Baltimore (1949) and had a daughter in 1948 but were divorced the following year. Agar married again in 1951 which lasted until his wife's death in 2000. Agar worked in a string of Westerns and war films such as Sands of Iwo Jima (1949), Breakthrough (1950) and She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949). Later when pressed for money he began making the films that would establish his reputation beyond the gossip columns: Revenge of the Creature (1955), The Brain from Planet Arous (1957), Invisible Invaders (1959) and the mind-boggling Zontar, the Thing from Venus (1966). The roles became progressively smaller so Agar sold insurance and real estate on the side. When he appeared in the 1988 film Miracle Mile his dialogue supposedly included obscenities which Agar had always refused to use. He showed the director a way to do the scene without that language and that's how it was filmed.
By Lang Thompson
DUDLEY MOORE, 1935-2002
Award-winning actor, comedian and musician Dudley Moore died on March 27th at the age of 66. Moore first gained notice in his native England for ground-breaking stage and TV comedy before later building a Hollywood career. Like many of his peers, he had an amiable, open appeal that was balanced against a sharply satiric edge. Moore could play the confused innocent as well as the crafty schemer and tended to command attention wherever he appeared. Among his four marriages were two actresses: Tuesday Weld and Suzy Kendall.
Moore was born April 19, 1935 in London. As a child, he had a club foot later corrected by years of surgery that often left him recuperating in the hospital alongside critically wounded soldiers. Moore attended Oxford where he earned a degree in musical composition and met future collaborators Peter Cook, Jonathan Miller and Alan Bennett. The four formed the landmark comedy ensemble Beyond the Fringe. Though often merely labelled as a precursor to Monty Python's Flying Circus, Beyond the Fringe was instrumental in the marriage of the piercing, highly educated sense of humor cultivated by Oxbridge graduates to the modern mass media. In this case it was the revue stage and television where Beyond the Fringe first assaulted the astonished minds of Britons. Moore supplied the music and such songs as "The Sadder and Wiser Beaver," "Man Bites God" and "One Leg Too Few." (You can pick up a CD set with much of the stage show. Unfortunately for future historians the BBC commonly erased tapes at this period - why? - so many of the TV episodes are apparently gone forever.)
Moore's first feature film was the 1966 farce The Wrong Box (a Robert Louis Stevenson adaptation) but it was his collaboration with Peter Cook on Bedazzled (1967) that's endured. Unlike its tepid 2000 remake, the original Bedazzled is a wolverine-tough satire of mid-60s culture that hasn't aged a bit: viewers are still as likely to be appalled and entertained at the same time. Moore not only co-wrote the story with Cook but composed the score. Moore appeared in a few more films until starring in 10 (1979). Written and directed by Blake Edwards, this amiable comedy featured Moore (a last-minute replacement for George Segal) caught in a middle-aged crisis and proved popular with both audiences and critics. Moore's career took another turn when his role as a wealthy alcoholic who falls for the proverbial shop girl in Arthur (1981) snagged him an Oscar nomination as Best Actor and a Golden Globe win.
However Moore was never able to build on these successes. He starred in a passable remake of Preston Sturges' Unfaithfully Yours (1984), did another Blake Edwards romantic comedy of moderate interest called Micki + Maude (1984, also a Golden Globe winner for Moore), a misfired sequel to Arthur in 1988 and a few other little-seen films. The highlight of this period must certainly be the 1991 series Orchestra where Moore spars with the wonderfully crusty conductor Georg Solti and leads an orchestra of students in what's certainly some of the most delightful television ever made.
By Lang Thompson
TCM Remembers - John Agar
The closing credits contain the following written statement: "We gratefully acknowledge the cooperation of The Department of Defense and The Department of the Army. We also acknowledge the cooperation and hospitality shown to our visiting cast and crew by their Japanese counterparts." Although the onscreen credits read "Based on a three-act play by Evan Wylie and Jack Ruge," no information on the production of the play has been found.
Contemporary reviewers pointed out the similarities between this film and M-G-M's 1956 picture The Teahouse of the August Moon, directed by Daniel Mann and starring Glenn Ford and Marlon Brando, which was originally a Broadway play featuring David Wayne as "Sakini," a fast-talking Japanese man who outwits American soldiers during the occupation (see below). According to a May 1956 "Rambling Reporter" column in Hollywood Reporter, Universal originally considered Wayne to star in Joe Butterfly.
Japanese star Kieko Shima was borrowed from the Nikkatsu Studios. Studio press materials state that the film was shot entirely on location in Japan, including in Tokyo and Yokohama, and aboard Navy cruisers in Japanese waters. Press materials also state that director Jesse Hibbs hired actual foreign correspondents to play reporters in the film. Hollywood Reporter news items add Hideaki Takeuchi, Sheri Kuni and Shu Maruyama to the cast, but their appearance in the final film has not been confirmed.
Released in United States Summer July 1957
Released in United States Summer July 1957