SONG OF THE ISLANDS
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When the beautiful daughter of a Hawaii-based Irish planter falls for the handsome son of a local cattle baron, it seems like the perfect match until they get caught up in the family feud. Betty Grable, Victor Mature, Jack Oakie, and Thomas Mitchell star in this 1942 classic. Shown in 4:3 full frame presentation.
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The story is simple, romantic, and funny---and occasionally interrupted by often lavish musical numbers, all of which are high energy swing dance affairs. Betty Grable has just returned from a teacher's college on the Mainland (US), to the Ami Ami Oni Oni Island ranch owned by her father, an Irish expat played by Thomas Mitchell. While they catch up, a boat is noted drifting towards shore, and it turns out that Victor Mature and Jack Oakie are the boat's owners, asleep inside. Mature's character is the son of the Chicago millionaire who owns a neighboring cattle ranch and who has been trying to buy the O'Brien holdings to no avail. Mature begins to pursue Grable's character, and the romance proceeds in fits and starts, while Hilo Hattie goes after Jack Oakie's character, to his consternation.
For a movie released in 1942, it's worth noting that not a breath about the World War then raging is ever mentioned, standard procedure for all of these films save for "The Gang's All Here". And, what makes all of these films such wonderfully evocative snapshots of their era also works against this one film, probably keeping it from being re-released on DVD. The stereotyping of native Hawaiian's as mostly childlike innocents save for Palola's (Hilo Hattie's) father, who is portrayed as a mostly reformed cannibal. But perhaps it's the portrayal of Mitchell's Irish character as a loveable Irish drunk that may have been what offended the legal department. Who knows. How you react to such period displays of racist attitudes may well color how much you enjoy, or dislike, this film. Unfortunate, but that's the way it is.
It's also worth noting that one gets a very good look at how cattle were driven into the surf, then towed (swimming) out to boats that would carry them to the slaughter houses, a bit of Hawaiiana all but forgotten today.
In any event, as a film I found it entertaining, beautiful to look at and wonderful to listen to; and I was quite surprised by the quality of this print-on-demand version.
Able Betty Grable is supported by a pleasant cast in this musical that is a tonic at anytime.
Thank you to the Fox Studio Archives for a nice presentation.
Betty Grable stars with Victor Mature, Jack Oakie, Thomas Mitchell, Hilo Hattie
and others. The plot is thin and the comedy doesn't always work, especially when
Billy Gilbert appears. Had his scenes been deleted, the movie would have been
There are some very enjoyable songs and musical numbers.
The song, Blue Shadows And White Gardenias was sung by Victor Mature
to Betty Grable but was deleted before the movie was originally
released. The number appears on the DVD of Hidden Hollywood part 2.
Fox did a great job on this DVD release: very good picture quality,
beautiful color and even an original theatrical trailer.
I'm not giving 5 stars because" Harry Owens and His Royal Hawaiians" are billed but nowhere to be seen
in the film as far as I can see.
Hilo Hattie gives a great performance. It's easy to see why she was so popular.
Sit back and enjoy the fun!
Most recent customer reviews
Betty Grable was gorgeous!Read more