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His Majesty O'Keefe

4.3 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

The adventures of an American sea captain stranded on Micronesia in the South Pacific, as he tries to become an entrepreneur.

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Burt Lancaster spends a great deal of His Majesty O'Keefe without a shirt on, which might suggest the appeal of this 1954 South Seas yarn. Between the chest-barings, you can also detect the presence of a political parable about the innocent islanders of Yap and the overbearing colonialists looking to make a killing off them. The prize is coconut meat: rascally Lancaster wants to corner the market before the Germans can get their paws on it. There are grown-up elements to this story, including the somewhat worldly approach to Lancaster's island-based affairs with native women, and perhaps if you peer long enough into it you can see the remnants of the real story of the actual O'Keefe peeking out. But truth be told, this is a fairly pokey affair, enlivened by the splashy color photography and some Micronesian exoticism. You'd better love Lancaster's megawatt grin--and yes, the other stuff on display--because his bounding movie-star energy is the only thing keeping this one afloat. --Robert Horton

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Burt Lancaster, Joan Rice, André Morell, Abraham Sofaer, Archie Savage
  • Directors: Burt Lancaster, Byron Haskin
  • Writers: Borden Chase, Gerald Green, James Hill, Lawrence Klingman
  • Producers: Harold Hecht, Norman Deming
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Subtitled, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: October 23, 2007
  • Run Time: 91 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000UJ48RM
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #136,174 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "His Majesty O'Keefe" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: VHS Tape
If you like Burt Lancaster, you gotta love this movie. It's even strangely politically correct for its time. One of the themes boils down to not messing around with indigenous cultures to satisfy the White Man's greed. Meanwhile, if you want to dispense with the anti-exploitation morality, just enjoy the most virile male lead in Hollywood history spreading his testosterone around the Fiji islands. Every Burt Lancaster film has a memorable scene that marks his territory forever in your mind. In this movie its the scene where is challenged by the native chief and fights him for domination of the island. His Majesty O'Keefe is a flawed hero, but a real man, no question. He learns from his mistakes, such as ruining the native economy while trying to do them a favor. It does a satisfying job poking holes in the White Man's Burden myth and is rousing entertainment. This isn't a rampant swashbuckler like Crimson Pirate, but if you like that movie, you'll probably enjoy this one also.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This all-but-forgotten fifties swashbuckler produced by the team of Harold Hecht-Burt Lancaster is a thrilling, beautifully photographed epic of the South Seas and the people of Fiji. Lancaster was never better as Captain David Dion O'Keefe, a soldier of fortune obsessed with making a fortune in copra, the oil extracted from cocoanuts. His intentions are deeply affected by a philosophical German trader, the heroic chief of the natives (played by an amazing local character who appears to be a naturally gifted actor/dancer), and the lovely half-caste girl he falls in love with. As if the visuals are not enough, the film is worth seeing for the incredible score by Dmitri Tiomkin, definitely one of his best.
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Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
This is a true story about an American in the western Pacific who sets himself up as king of the island of Yap in the late 1800's. The book is very interesting and the movie is too although it is a 1950's Hollywood "treatment" of the story. Burt Lancaster is in his prime in this adventure film. He gets to show off his great physique, his acrobatic talents and of course his 1000 watt smile. The movie was actually filmed in Fiji and the scenery is beautiful. It made me smile to see how conservative our culture was in the 1950's: In the book, O'Keefe has nightly trysts with a native girl but in the movie Burt simply looks at her and smiles and then later you see her with one of his gold coins around her neck. Sex used to be much simpler.
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Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
Lancaster gives a fine performance in this classic account of a soldier of fortune willing to risk his neck for profit, and yet, act with honor and courage.
Terrific support cast, excellent settings and the color is superb.
Plenty of action, nefarious German officals and a bevy of lovely dancing girls, some evil slave traders and some good fist fights to boot.
Well worth the price is you are looking to pump up your tape collection.
Go for it, you won't be disapointed
Mike
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I recently returned from a trip to Yap and heard mention of this movie. The positives: It was a good yarn with beautiful photography great costumes and plenty of round doughnut shaped rocks(referred to by many folks as coins). Not a half bad story as Burt fights mutineers, slavers, enemy warriors and despicable Germans(The film wasn't that many years after the end of WW II.).

However, from a historical context, it is very weakly based on a real person who grew very rich using a ship to bring the limestone rocks from the "rock islands" near Palau to Yap and traded them for Copra. He also supplied tools better for carving the rocks. This great influx of these stones actually caused inflation(11,000 of these large stone "coins" exist on Yap) and, to preserve the cultural importance of these stones, all future import of these stones was forbidden early in the 20th century

Final conclusion: This is an enjoyable movie, but anyone who thinks it(or anything else produced by Hollywood) is an accurate depiction of historic events is a fool
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Format: DVD
Warner Bros. Pictures presents "HIS MAJESTY O'KEEFE" (1954) (92 min/Color) -- Starring Burt Lancaster, Joan Rice, Benson Fong, Philip Ahn & Grant Taylor

Directed by Byron Haskin

In 1870, Yankee sea captain O'Keefe finds himself stranded after a mutiny on the Micronesian island of Yap, where the financial potential of copra (dried coconut) excites him. But a German company already has a monopoly...and very low production because hard work is alien to dwellers in paradise. On a later voyage, between affairs with island maidens, O'Keefe struggles to find the key to the wealth of Yap. But before he can carve out the empire of his dreams, he must also contend with assorted villains.

Lancaster playing a larger than life role and the splendid location cinematography of Fiji make His Majesty O'Keefe fine viewing and it holds up well today.

This film is not Lancaster's best but is enjoyable if you enjoy watching him in his athletic prime. Beautifully shot, it captures the exciting times of adventure on the high seas and island exploration. A must for Burt Lancaster's many fans.

Colorful score by composer Dimitri Tiomkin.

BIOS:
1. Byron Haskin [aka: Byron Conrad Haskin] (Director)
Date of Birth: 22 April 1899 - Portland, Oregon
Date of Death: 16 April 1984 - Montecito, California

2. Burt Lancaster [aka: Burton Stephen Lancaster]
Date of Birth: 2 November 1913 - New York City, New York
Date of Death: 20 October 1994 - Century City, California

Mr. Jim's Ratings:
Quality of Picture & Sound: 4 Stars
Performance: 4 Stars
Story & Screenplay: 4 Stars
Overall: 4 Stars [Original Music, Cinematography & Film Editing]

Total Time: 92 min on DVD ~ Warner Bros. Pictures ~ (October 23, 2007)
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