Sometimes amusing, more often flat comedy produced by MacLaine's husband, Steve Parker, who lived in Japan for many years. Montand plays a famed motion picture director who has made a career working on his wife MacLaine's pictures. He is tired of being known as her husband and wants to do a
version of "Madame Butterfly" with a Japanese woman (yet to be discovered) in the lead. MacLaine is furious and goes to Japan (where the picture will be shot) with the film's producer, Robinson. Once there, she masquerades as a geisha at a party, and Montand does not recognize her. This presents
MacLaine with an idea: she will audition for the leading role in his movie. Tani, a real geisha, gives MacLaine lessons in how to serve men, and MacLaine reads for and gets the title role in Montand's movie. He is thrilled to have a different leading lady and takes great pride in his Asian
"discovery." Problems set in when the movie's leading man, Cummings, falls hard for MacLaine (in her Japanese attire and attitude) and now asks Montand to help him win her--a la Cyrano and Christian. While watching the day's filming rushes, Montand finally figures out why this Japanese girl seems
so familiar to him (it certainly took him long enough to see through her rice makeup, wig, and obi), but he does not let on that he knows. Instead, he begins to make advances on her, thus improving her performance in the film as she gets angrier and angrier at what he is doing. The picture
premieres in Tokyo, and MacLaine, as herself, tells the crowd that the Japanese star has given up show business to enter the religious life. Then she introduces Montand to the breathless crowd and gives him all the credit for the film. Montand has his moment in the Rising Sun, although he knows,
deep inside, that he still has not made a movie without his devoted wife.
The song "You Are Sympathy to Me," the glorious original score by Puccini, and the wonderful cinematography are not enough to elevate this picture from a yawner. With its one-joke premise, it stretches far too long at a minute under two hours. MY GEISHA is a film-within-a-film, and neither one is
much. It was nominated by the Academy for Best Costume Design.
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- Rating: NR
- Review: Sometimes amusing, more often flat comedy produced by MacLaine's husband, Steve Parker, who lived in Japan for many years. Montand plays a famed motion picture director who has made a career working on his wife MacLaine's pictures. He is tired of being kno… (more)