Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Bird of Paradise(1932)- Pre Code.

Bird of Paradise (1932). Director: King Vidor. Cast: Dolores del Río, Joel McCrea, and Richard "Skeets" Gallagher.

As a yacht sails into an island in the South Pacific, the natives sail out to greet them. The natives dive for the trinkets the crew throws out to them. A shark swims by and a young man tries to catch the shark, but accidentally steps into a loop that tightens around his ankle. The shark takes the bait, causing the rope to yank the young man overboard. The daughter of the chief rescues the young man by diving into the water, swimming down to where the man is. He cannot get his foot loose from the tangle, so she pulls out a knife and cuts the rope, saving his life.

The beautiful Polynesian girl named Luana catches the young man's eye, and it is not long before they meet in the middle of the night. They soon discover she has been promised by her father to a prince on another island. An arranged wedding with an beautiful dance number, the young man, runs into the burning fire and rescues her. Bringing her to another island where they hope to live out the rest of their lives.

He builds her a house and fruit, mangos and coconuts, are all within easy reach. Fishing is plentiful. It is like paradise. Their world comes to an end when a volcano begins to erupt.

Fun Facts:

This film was one of the first talkies to have an orchestral film score. The musical director was Max Steiner, who would later work on King Kong (1933) and Gone with the Wind (1939). The native huts in this film were reused one year later in RKO's King Kong.

Bird of Paradise created a scandal when released due to scenes featuring Dolores del Río and Joel McCrea swimming nude. This film was made before the Production Code was enforced so nudity could be shown. Orson Welles said del Río represented the highest erotic ideal with her performance in the film.

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