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Comment: Case and DVD in excellent condition - a couple very faint marks, complete with cover art and insert, Region 1 USA edition, packaged in protective sleeve to prevent Fulfillment sticker from leaving residue on case
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4.1 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Filmed entirely in Tahiti, "Tabu" represents an unusual collaboration between legendary directors F.W. Murnau (Nosferatu, Sunrise) and Robert Flaherty (Nanook of the North). Two lovers are doomed by a tribal edict decreeing that the girl is "tabu" to all men. While the lovers' flight from judgment and the ultimate power of the tabu are reminiscent of Murnau's expressionist films, "Tabu" is all open air and sunlight, sparkling on the ocean and glistening on the beautiful young bodies of the native men and women. Now available completely uncensored and restored by UCLA, this cinematic landmark is one of the most gorgeous black and white films ever made, and was the 1931 Academy Award winner for Best Cinematography.

Conceived by two master filmmakers, but essentially made by only one, Tabu is the last great silent film (released four years into the talkie era). Few classics have had a more fraught history, starting with the dicey notion of combining the radically different approaches of documentarist Robert Flaherty and supernaturalist F.W. Murnau. After selecting the South Seas locations, collaborating on the story, and doing some preliminary photography, Flaherty withdrew, leaving Murnau to realize this tale of forbidden love and implacable retribution in an earthly paradise. The results, ravishing to behold, complete a spiritual trilogy begun with Nosferatu (1921-22) and Sunrise (1927), Murnau's other films of young couples drawn asunder by phantoms. Floyd Crosby won an Academy Award® for his cinematography. The director himself was killed in a car wreck just before his film was released. All the more tragic that Murnau's original, uncut version was never seen till Milestone Film & Video's restoration in 1990. --Richard T. Jameson

Special Features

  • Outtake footage
  • Still gallery
  • Short film: "An Essay About Reri"

Product Details

  • Actors: Anne Chevalier, Matahi, Hitu, Bill Bambridge, Ah Fong
  • Directors: F.W. Murnau
  • Writers: F.W. Murnau, Robert J. Flaherty, Edgar G. Ulmer
  • Producers: F.W. Murnau, David Flaherty, Robert J. Flaherty
  • Format: Black & White, Full Screen, Silent, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 1.0)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Image Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: September 3, 2002
  • Run Time: 86 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00006FMCF
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #168,963 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Tabu" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Robin Simmons VINE VOICE on October 30, 2002
Format: DVD
Among the more beautiful places on our small planet, the South Pacific has long been deemed a living paradise and a favorite destination of lovers and adventurers since the beginning of human history. It has also generated and inspired musicians, artists, writers and filmmakers.

Filmed in 1929 entirely on location on the magical island of Bora Bora, "TABU" is a collaboration between legendary directors F.W. Murnau ("Nosferatu," "Faust" and "Sunrise") and the great drama-based documentarian Robert Flaherty ("Nanook of the North"). Like Romeo and Juliet, young fisherman Matahi and beautiful Reri are two island lovers damned by a tribal mandate declaring the girl off-limits or "tabu" to all eligible males. The young couple run away, but discover that so-called civilization (remember, it's 1929 Tahiti) is not to be their salvation.

This beautiful film literally glows. The drama of destiny and fate is played out by half-naked young bodies that move through the silver light that radiates, reflects and refracts everywhere. It vibrates in the dappled shadows of tropical foliage and dances on the sparkling lagoons, pristine waterfalls and unpolluted beaches.

"Tabu" deservedly won a 1931 Oscar© for Best Cinematography. Sadly, Murnau died in a freak auto accident in the El Cajon pass a week before the New York premier.

This digital edition, thanks to UCLA restoration, is the first time since its original release that "Tabu" has been available in a complete and uncensored print. Significant extras include a surprisingly intriguing audio commentary by UCLA Film Professor Janet Bergestrom, a still gallery, outtake footage, original theatrical trailer and the short film "Reri in New York." Highly recommended.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I will go against the grain of conventional opinion and admit that this is my favorite Murnau film. I think it was the influence of Robert Flaherty (in regard to location, subject matter, & casting) that put it over the top. But make no mistakes, this is Murnau's film. Amidst this cast and backdrop, Murnau brought his technique (the artful expression of narrative thru film images) to its most perfect form. There are barely any intertitles in this film; the pictures speaks almost completely without them. And here in Tahiti Murnau's fascination with the supernatural found poignancy in the exploration of the Tabu of the native islanders. Add to that romance and dancing scenes that are tantalizingly pure and delightful, and in my humble opinion you have Murnau's finest work.
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Format: DVD
apart from charlie chaplin, this was the last major movie of the silent era. set in a purportedly idyllic south seas, it began as a rare collaboration between directors f. w. murnau ("nosferatu") and robert flaherty ("nanook of the north") -- tho the end product was way more murnau than flaherty. a saga of forbidden love, mixed with skin, it is both fascinating curiosity and enduring classic. i would recommend this movie to anyone seriously interested in motion picture history -- but it IS a special bit of cuisine, not for people who think "crash" is a masterpiece.
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Format: Blu-ray
“Tabu” is the last film made by F.W. Murnau (“Nosferatu”) before he was killed in a car crash at age 42. For this film, he teamed up with Robert Flaherty (“Nanook of the North”) and set out for Bora Bora in 1929 to tell a story of forbidden romance using Polynesian natives for actors. Expert diver Matahi falls madly in love with Reri just before she becomes their tribe’s chosen one to be sacrificed to the gods. Reri is now untouchable, off limits to all men. If she is seduced, death will come to her and her lover. Matahi and Reri run off together. The many hardships they encounter force Matahi to dive in shark-infested waters for valuable pearls.

Over the course of nine months, drawing inspiration from the picturesque landscapes and people of the Tahitian islands, the filmmakers fashioned an emotionally rich story of romance between a young man and woman as civilization falls upon their primitive island. The film was originally released in a shortened and censored form. This restoration is Murnau’s approved version in its most complete form. Flaherty withdrew from the project when he and Murnau disagreed on the approach to the film. Flaherty wanted to shoot a straight documentary of native life, Murnau wanted a scripted film. Though made after the advent of sound, “Tabu” is essentially a silent picture with visuals telling the story, accompanied by an orchestral score.

Special features on the Blu-ray release include “The Language of Shadows: Tabu”, a 15-minute documentary on the making and restoration of the film; “Tabu: Takes and Outtakes,” 26 minutes of previously unseen sequences; “Tabu: A Work in Progress,” 15 minutes of raw camera footage, with narration; and “Hunt in the South Seas,” a 1940 ethnographic short compiled from unused footage from “Tabu.”
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Format: DVD
It's somehow fitting that Murnau's last film was as great a masterpiece as Nosferatu and Sunrise. As has been said countless times, the photography is absolutely stunning, and the story, even though highly simplistic and told with zero dialogue, holds your attention all the way through. The extras and outtakes are interesting as well. This is one of those films you can read about, but really have to experience. Don't wait.
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