White Shadows In The South Seas
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
Even today, the Marquesas Islands beckon travelers yearning for an exotic and authentic Polynesian experience. Imagine the wonder of 1928 audiences when White Shadows in the South Seas took them thousands of miles from home to that remote Eden of rolling waves and
palm-fringed beaches. The first of W.S. Van Dyke's famed filmed-on-location adventures (the others: The Pagan and Trader Horn) tells a dramatic tale of foreign interlopers - a booze-sodden doctor and a rapacious pearl trader - who bring destruction to a vibrant Pacific culture. The film features synchronized music and sound effects plus spectacular, Academy Award(r)-winning cinematography that captures a paradise in peril.
When sold by Amazon.com, this product will be manufactured on demand using DVD-R recordable media. Amazon.com's standard return policy will apply.
Top customer reviews
The major part of the movie is the story of a degenerate white who washes up on an as yet "unspoiled" island, protrayed to be like the garden of Eden. His life and soul are restored but at some point he succumbs to greed and the result is that paradise comes to an end.
In regards to the book the movie story is bogus. Furthermore, the book does not contain the anti-white racist doggeral in the movie. The book instead contains many fascinating stories about the Marquesas at the time, of both the natives and the French residents. It also has a more measured history of both the darker side and the pleasant side of this paradise. On the dark side, cannibalism had become almost casual in the later stages of aboriginal culture before the arrival of the Europeans. O'Brien's book contains photos of former cannibals who were still living at the time he was there. In addition, the pre-European peoples were not free from disease, elephantiasis being inidigenous to the South Pacific. There were also non-paradisical things such as large very poisonous centipedes. The movie is a rather childish paradise-lost story, and not at all faithful to the book.
However, the photography in the movie is worth the purchase: on-location photos of a South Pacific still in relative isolation. The print was sometimes off, being brown instead of black and white, but still very, very watchable. It is also an important film in the history of silent movies and for those who appreciate this well worth watching.
When the action starts, we meet the villain you will just love to hate, Sebastian (Robert Anderson), who with his cronies is destroying the native customs of the South Seas Marquesa islands as he pushes the natives ever further to find pearls for him. The natives don't know that the pearls have any value; in more than one scene Sebastian gives a native a cheap watch (probably from a five and dime cent store in the States) in exchange for a good sized, perfectly shaped pearl. Indeed, the natives have been so driven by the white man's greed and exploitation that they literally risk their lives looking for pearls. They die swimming in shark infested waters, get themselves stuck underwater in powerful clams, suffer collapsed lungs and endure bursting blood vessels because of the change in pressure between the underwater world and the world above water! The only white man on the island who objects to this is the mysteriously ruined Dr. Matthew Lloyd (Monte Blue); Matthew objects vehemently to Sebastian's evil and the dishonesty of the other white men.
Sebastian plans more; he tricks Matthew into being taken away by force on a ship bound for goodness knows where. However, the boat soon runs into a huge, life threatening storm; everyone onboard dies except for Matthew. Matthew is swept onto the shore of another island, this one untouched by the white man's greed.
It's paradise there and the natives think Matthew is a God simply because he is white! They welcome Matthew and it isn't long before he marries Fayaway (Raquel Torres), the virgin bride of the tribe. The tribe greatly admires the medical skill of the "white God" who is now renamed Matta Loa.
Matta Loa is happy--for a while, at least. Matthew is, of course, not a God. He is a man; a human being who ultimately surrenders to his own greed for the native's pearls on that island--pearls they throw away while making fishhooks! When Matta Loa impulsively makes a fire to alert a passing ship to take him away from the island and what really counts in life, an chain of unexpected events is started...
There's plenty more to the plot but I'll stop to avoid giving away spoilers; I want you to watch and enjoy the film as much as I did! Suffice it to say that the rest of the film shows how everything plays out.
Look also for good performances by Renee Bush as Lucy and Napua as a native boy.
White Shadows in the South Seas is a must-have for fans of the actors in it and anyone who appreciates excellent early sound film with superb cinematography. People who like drama with romantic themes will also like this film.
Most recent customer reviews
Look for similar items by category
- Movies & TV > Classics > Silent Films
- Movies & TV > Disc on Demand
- Movies & TV > Disc on Demand
- Movies & TV > Genre for Featured Categories > Action & Adventure
- Movies & TV > Genre for Featured Categories > Drama
- Movies & TV > MGM Home Entertainment > All MGM Titles
- Movies & TV > MOD CreateSpace Video
- Movies & TV > Movies
- Movies & TV > Studio Specials > MGM Home Entertainment > All MGM Titles