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Top Customer Reviews
There ARE things that can be done about this, especially if you have a VHS or DVD player. You can pop in any number of good movies and use your scene selector to get you to that "special part" that just warms your heart and chases your blues away.
You can watch the end of "Shenandoah" from the point where Jimmy Stewart goes to the family cemetery to talk to his wife Martha, on through to the arrival of "the boy" in the middle of Sunday preaching. Or you can watch James Cagney as George M. Cohan get his Medal of Honor from FDR in "Yankee Doodle Dandy", tap dance down the White House steps and join in the troop parade down Pennsylvania Avenue singing "Over There". Or you can scene-select to the Von Trapp family singing "Edelweiss" as a farewell appearance at the Salzburg Music Festival in "The Sound of Music" and then follow them across the alps into Switzerland at the close to that fine film. OR , if the season is right, you can quick jump to the Columbia Inn in Pine Tree, Vermont, in time to see retired General "Tom Waverly"(Dean Jagger) get sandbagged by Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye and company at the surprise reunion of the "151st Division" at the end of "White Christmas".
OR...you can plug in "Donovans Reef" and just sit back and LET THE WHOLE THING ROLL!!!!! Because from the first moment of the opening credits, when the delightful, infectious musical rendition of "Pupa O Ewa" ("Pearly Shells") cranks up...until the very end of the film...when "Pupa O Ewa" is cranking again...you can just leave your "doldrums" behind.Read more ›
"Donovan's Reef", equal parts "South Pacific", "Hawaii", "What Price Glory?", and "She Wore a Yellow Ribbon", was already 'nostalgic', by the time it was made, as so many actors who would have been Ford 'naturals' in key roles had passed away, or were too old to play the characters believably. Thus you have Lee Marvin instead of Victor McLaglen, Jack Warden in a 'Ward Bond' role, and Elizabeth Allen in a part 'tailor-made' for a younger Maureen O'Hara. Even Wayne, himself, at 56, seems a bit 'long-in-the-tooth' for the physical demands of his role (challenging the 32-year-old Allen in a swimming race?), as well as the romance (a fact that even the Duke would agree with; this would mark the last time he would play a romantic lead, 'winning' an actress so much younger). Also, knowing that in less than two years Wayne would lose a lung to cancer, one winces at the number of cigarettes he lights up, throughout the film. "Donovan's Reef" was certainly geared to an earlier time and sensibility.Read more ›
Of special enjoyment is the Christmas Pageant in the leaky chapel. I have never been able to think about the "three wise men" of the Christmas story without this scene coming to mind. The Polynesian ceremony at the end of the film is also humorous as well as touching.
The setting is supposed to be French Polynesia but everything about the film from the scenery to the people suggests Hawaii. No matter. This is simply a great "little" comedy. Watch it some lazy Sunday afternoon and it will make your day.
It's as if the despairing sailors of "They Were Expendable" had stayed and fought their own war, survived, and tried to come to grips with the cataclysm. Gilhooley (Marvin) and Donovan (Wayne) get together every year on their mutual birthday (December 7th) for the purpose of a brawl celebrating some obscure rift between the two of them which neither can remember. Whether they fought over some girl, or ritualistically celebrate America's entry into WWII, Ford lets us know that these guys are stuck in a kind of limbo.
As in Renoir, the comedy is broad enough to be symbolic, and the arrival of an old buddy's daughter looking for her lost father is enough of a catalyst to shake things up. The intrusion of the larger world, with Ford's hilarious send up of "Boston Manners" forces the island's inhabitants into a dehumanizing charade. Doc Dedham (Warden) must acknowledge his "white" daughter Amelia, while hiding the existence of his island children, who are in fact the true aristocrats of the island. The picture closes with a beautiful sequence (virtually silent) where Amelia, realizing the subterfuge she has brought to life, pays homage and accepts her half sister, healing the rift between the racist, patronizing outside world and the gods of the island.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Wonderful French Polynesia inland with fights and a good laughs.Published 46 minutes ago by Richard E.
I love John Wayne movies and this a movie fun movie to watch.Published 4 days ago by Katherine Luckey
Unique and enjoyable story. With some minor adult situations, this story is family entertainment at it's best. Read morePublished 5 days ago by Brian J.
One of John Wayne's great movie's. Made for the family as well as anyone with a good imagination. I was in Hawaii where some of this movie was made and it just added to the desire... Read morePublished 8 days ago by Ted Williams
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