Puccini's classic opera of a trusting woman and how her love was tragically betrayed comes to the screen in this faithful film adaptation. In the 19th century, an American sailor named Benjamin Franklin Pinkerton (Richard Troxell) arrives in Japan and meets a 15-year-old girl named Cio-Cio-San (Ying Huang), whom he calls Butterfly.
Butterfly falls in love with Pinkerton, but he regards their romance as a temporary fling and blithely asks for her hand even though he has no intention of bringing her with him when he returns to the States.
Blinded by love, Butterfly marries Pinkerton, even though it means turning her back on her family and her faith, and to the surprise of few aside from herself, he soon leaves her behind.
Three years later, Butterfly has a child whom Pinkerton fathered shortly before his departure, and the heart-broken woman lives for the day that he returns, though her friends give her little hope that this will ever happen.
One day, Pinkerton does indeed return -- with his American wife Kate (Constance Hauman) in tow, and with the intention of taking possession of his child and bringing him back to the United States, leaving Butterfly entirely alone.
Madame Butterfly was directed by Frederic Mitterrand, the son of former French president Francois Mitterrand; the score was performed the Orchestre de Paris, under the direction of James Conlon.