AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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Madame Butterfly
Director: Sidney Olcott (Dir)
Release Date:   8 Nov 1915
Duration (in reels):   5
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Cast:   Mary Pickford (Cho-Cho-San)  
    Olive West (Suzuki)  
    Jane Hall (Adelaide)  
    Lawrence Wood (Cho-Cho-San's father)  
    Caroline Harris (Her Father)  
    M. W. Rale (The Nakodo)  
    W. T. Carleton (The American Consul)  
    David Burton (The Prince)  
    Frank Dekum (Naval officer)  
    Marshall Neilan (Lieutenant Pinkerton)  
    Caesere Gravina (The Soothsayer)  

Summary: Japanese maiden Cho-Cho-San is courted by the dashing American officer Lieutenant Pinkerton and, in a traditional Oriental ceremony, marries him. Never taking his Eastern wedding vows seriously, Pinkerton leaves Japan and his "Madame Butterfly" after a few weeks to rejoin his ship, telling his bride he will return in the spring. The faithful, trusting Cho-Cho-San waits for Pinkerton in her mountain cabin with their newly born child, but the spring passes with no sign of the lieutenant. Shunned by her proud Samurai family, Cho-Cho-San persists in her lonely vigil, rejecting even the proposals of Yamadori, a wealthy Americanized Japanese. Finally Pinkerton returns, but accompanying him is Adelaide, his new American wife. When Adelaide learns the truth about Cho-Cho-San and her baby, she insists on bringing up the child herself, an offer Cho-Cho-San feels compelled to accept. Before handing over the child, Cho-Cho-San commits suicide, dying happily in the lieutenant's arms, at last reunited with her beloved. 

Production Company: Famous Players Film Co.  
Distribution Company: Paramount Pictures Corp.  
Director: Sidney Olcott (Dir)
Producer: Daniel Frohman (Pres)
Photography: Hal Young (Cam)
Country: United States

Source Text: Based on the novel Madame Butterfly by John Luther Long (New York, 1898).
Authors: John Luther Long

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
Famous Players Film Co. 8/11/1915 dd/mm/yyyy LU6902

Physical Properties: b&w:
  Si:

 
Genre: Drama
 
Subjects (Major): Desertion (Marital)
  Fidelity
  Japan
  Marriage--Mixed
 
Subjects (Minor): Adoption
  Americans in foreign countries
  Brides
  Samurai
  Suicide
  United States. Navy
  Weddings

Note: Some sources list Frank Dekum as Frank Bekum. Giacomo Puccini's opera Madame Butterfly had its premiere in Milan on 17 Feb 1904, but was not the source of this film. Paramount made another film based on this opera in 1932, which starred Sylvia Sidney. 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Motog   6 Nov 15   p. 966.
Motog   27 Nov 15   p. 1144, 1163
MPN   6 Feb 15   p. 74.
MPN   15 Jan 16   p. 256.
MPN   7 Aug 15   p. 52.
MPN   25 Sep 15   p. 11.
MPN   16 Oct 15   p. 118.
MPN   6 Nov 15   p. 3, 50
MPN   20 Nov 15   p. 80.
MPN   27 Nov 15   p. 85.
MPW   13 Nov 15   p. 1282, 1294, 1323, 1382
NYDM   6 Nov 15   p. 25.
NYDM   13 Nov 15   p. 25.
NYDM   20 Nov 15   p. 28.
New York Times   8 Nov 15   p. 13.
Variety   12 Nov 15   p. 22.

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
 
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