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Legong - Dance of the Virgins (1935)

Poetoe Aloes Goesti , Bagus Mara Goesti , Henri de la Falaise  |  Unrated |  DVD
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)


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Product Details

  • Actors: Poetoe Aloes Goesti, Bagus Mara Goesti, Saplak Njoman, Njong Njong Njoman
  • Directors: Henri de la Falaise
  • Producers: Henri de la Falaise, Constance Bennett
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Image Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: November 16, 2004
  • Run Time: 65 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00063MCBG
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #409,496 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Legong - Dance of the Virgins" on IMDb

Special Features

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Surely one of the best produced and most revelatory DVD’s of 2004!" - Dave Kehr -- New York Times, November 30, 2004

Product Description

On the day of the temple feast of Tampaksiring, Poutou, a young maiden who performs the legong, the dance of the virgins at the sacred temple, meets Njong, a carefree youth from Northern Bali. As they gaze at each other, she remembers a prophecy that warned, "Should love enter thine eyes and go to thy heart, beware. For should he whom thou choosest not return thy love, thy gods will frown and disgrace will befall thee…"

In the 1930s, Bali became the place to be. Extolled as a paradise on earth with beautiful (mostly topless) natives and an exotic culture, the small island was soon swarmed by the rich and famous. When the Marquis Henry de la Falaise de la Coudraye – or "Hank" to ex-wife Gloria Swanson and current wife/producer Constance Bennett – arrived in Bali with a Technicolor crew in 1933, there had already been a slew of "documentaries" that reaped box office success in the United States. Directed by the dilettante husband of two famous movie stars, how good could the film be? Slashed apart by censors around the world, Legong quickly disappeared and was forgotten.

Now fully restored to its glistening two-color Technicolor by the UCLA Film & Television Archive, Legong has been revealed as a cinematic classic. With its impressive sensitivity to Balinese customs (the dance and religious rituals they filmed have become extremely important for their ethnographic value alone) and an eye for the natural beauty of the island, the film ranks with F. W. Murnau’s Tabu as an enduring masterpiece of tropical splendor.


Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
(6)
4.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pleasantly different and delightfully exotic December 12, 2004
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This excellent information-packed DVD comprises 3 films altogether, each relating to the other and offering something special. The main feature, "Legong", stands out wonderfully for its lovely old two-colour Technicolor and realistic portrayal of Balinese village life; the second is a B&W film also directed by Henry de la Falaise, and the third is a 1952 B&W documentary about religious customs and festivities in Bali. Each is around 1 hour, and there are further in-depth bonus features on the disc, including a second soundtrack for "Legong" especially composed for the film and featuring a gentle blend of Western and Balinese instruments. Altogether, an educational and cultural experience as well as simply a pleasure to watch the two films set in exotic locations with native peoples playing the roles. "Legong" is a tragic love story set amidst Balinese village life and customs with emphasis on the magnificent, colourful costumes of the Balinese dancers (what good luck it's in Technicolor!). The second film by director Henry de la Falaise, "Kliou the Killer" was filmed in Vietnam and similarly revolves around simple village life, this time the problem being a man-eating tiger that stalks the villagers. Both films are among the last silent films to be made, but in the case of "Legong" especially, it would probably not be very different with sound because sub-titles would still be needed. For this reason, and for the very good documentary which explains and ties in well with dances and customs featured in "Legong", I would recommend this DVD to anyone interested in Balinese and Asian culture told in rare, old footage that is delightful and enjoyable, as well as quite an education.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Major Discovery. November 23, 2004
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
As a silent film enthusiast, I am always on the lookout for quality silent film releases on DVD. Three sources you can always depend on are Kino International, Image Entertainment, and Milestone Films. From Milestone comes LEGONG: DANCE OF THE VIRGINS and it constitutes a major discovery. Although released in 1935 this movie was the final silent film release from a major studio (Paramount) and was one of the last films to feature two-strip Technicolor (red and green) which was replaced the same year by three-strip Technicolor (red, green, and blue) which is the one we are all familiar with. LEGONG was made by Henry de la Falaise, a French nobleman who was once married to Gloria Swanson and who was then married to Constance Bennett whose film company produced it. The film was beautifully photographed and featured an all Balinese cast. The native performers are so natural it's as if there were no camera there at all. The story is similar to F. W. Murnau's TABU (also available from Milestone) in that it deals with a tragic story of love thwarted by local tradition. What makes LEGONG different and so fascinating to watch is the incorporation of Balinese dancing and costumes into much of the film. It works as entertainment yet serves as a documentary on tribal customs and rituals. The film ran into major censorship problems upon its release due to the fact that the women characters were topless. It was chopped to pieces, went virtually unseen, and then was quickly forgotten. UCLA deserves high praise for the major restoration work done on this movie which included using 3 different prints to come up with the one used for this release. The two-strip Technicolor is superb and the original soundtrack was also restored and sounds great considering its age. Read more ›
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great bit of Indonesian film history December 11, 2004
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This is a perfectly produced disk -- beautiful, clean print of Legong and two full-length film "extras" thrown in. The alternative gamelan soundtrack is alone worth the price. With Chang we now have two excellent DVDs filmed in Southeast Asia, and starring "natives," that give us a glimpse of Hollywood intrusions in the 20s and 30s.

Highly recommended.
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