The Barbarian and the Geisha (1958)





Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

John Wayne's only collaboration with director John Huston turned out to be a major career misstep for both men. Barbarian and the Geisha is the true story of Townsend Harris (Wayne), who in 1856 was appointed the first American consul to Japan. Headquartered in Shimoda, Harris discovers that the Japanese thoroughly mistrust the Americans (and, as it turned out, not without reason). It's an uphill climb, but Harris gradually earns the respect of the local power brokers-and in so doing, is permitted to enter the city of Tokyo. Geisha girl Eiko Ando, originally sent to thwart Harris' mission, falls in love with him and protects him from harm. Though running only 104 minutes, the film seems to drag on for eons. Filmed on location, The Barbarian and the Geisha is consistently good to look at, but the discomfort of both star Wayne and director Huston is painfully obvious in every frame. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
Action & Adventure , Drama , Romance
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment

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John Wayne
as Townsend Harris
Sam Jaffe
as Henry Heusken
Eiko Ando
as Okichi
Sô Yamamura
as Governor Tamura
Norman Thomson
as Ship Captain
James Robbins
as Lt. Fisher
as Prime Minister
Hiroshi Yamato
as The Shogun
Fuji Kasai
as Lord Hotta
Takeshi Kumagai
as Chamberlain
Fuju Kasai
as Lord Hotta
Noriyuki 'Pat' Morita
as Prime Minister
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Critic Reviews for The Barbarian and the Geisha

All Critics (2)

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | October 17, 2008
Top Critic

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | January 27, 2006
New York Times
Top Critic

One of John Wayne's worst and most embarrassing films, in which he is totally miscast and misdirected by Johnn Huston.

Full Review… | March 21, 2011

Never seems fluid.

Full Review… | March 1, 2006
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Audience Reviews for The Barbarian and the Geisha

this and 'bllod alley' stand as 2 prime examples of wayne miscast as he tried 2 broaden his appeal and acting chops.

Greg Wood
Greg Wood

The film feels a bit pedestrian and then I read some film making background on it Director Huston wanted to do the film in a Japanese style (Kurosawa) which can be a bit slower for Western audiences. The studio freaked out and reedited the film which explains some bizarre voice over sections. Wayne was pretty good the Japanese American Eiko Ando was pretty to look at it but not very good actress. They should`ve gotten a real native Japanese actress to round out rest of the Japanese cast. If a director`s work print somehow survived somewhere it would be interesting to see that version and see if the story narrative improves. This is the 2nd big Hollywood film for 1958(the other Jerry Lewis`The Geisha Boy) that featured a major American Hollywood star one very noted 1940`s WW2 war films, to be filmed in Japan. This is an interesting time in American and Japanese cinema as American Occupation ended a few years earlier and there seemed to be an effort by cinema to ease the psychic wounds of both America and Japan from thier war wounds.

Bobby Diablo
Bobby Diablo

The only John Wayne show I didn't think was great.

Chad Roesti
Chad Roesti

Super Reviewer

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