Leonard Spigelgass’ brew of schmaltz and sukiyaki is an outstanding film. Rosalind Russell and Alec Guinness play the parts created on Broadway by Gertrude Berg and Cedric Hardwicke. Russell’s Yiddish hex-cent, though at times it sounds like what it is – a Christian imitating a Jew – is close enough to the genuine article. Guinness becomes Japanese through physical suggestion and masterful elocution.
Madlyn Rhue and Ray Danton play Russell’s daughter and son-in-law, latter the diplomat whose assignment to Japan paves the way for the unusual romance between middle-class Brooklyn widow and wealthy, influential Tokyo widower. The characters limned by Rhue and Danton are somewhat devoid of vigor, but the performances are sound.