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Dan works for Pritchard and Pritchard out of San Francisco and is in love with Maisie, referred to as "the icebox" by his news reporter friend. As one of his ships returns to San Francisco, Dan learns that the Captain has contracted Leprosy and asks Dan to be the guardian of his South Sea island daughter Tamea. Dan soon learns that Tamea wants him and will do nothing without a kiss. But Tamea soon learns that she is different than Dan and Maisie and that makes her angry. Dan decides to go and live on the island with Tamea, but soon finds out that Paradise is not everything that he thought it was. Written by
Tony Fontana <firstname.lastname@example.org>
A one-note performance SEVERELY hinders this film.
With better writing, "Never the Twain Shall Meet" might have been a decent film. It might have also been a positive film in regard to race. However, the main character in the film comes off as so obnoxious and one-dimensional that it's really hard to watch this film. I found myself repeatedly contemplating turning off the movie and I am sure I am not in the minority on this one! The film begins with a shipping magnate (Leslie Howard) being given custody of a 'girl' who is part Polynesian. This girl is actually about 20--and so you can't help but laugh when Howard keeps treating Tamea (Conchita Montenegro) like a kid. As for Tamea, as I mentioned above, she is just plain obnoxious and about as subtle as a nudist at a Baptist picnic! She comes off less as a Polynesian in America and more like a dog in heat. I know that sounds crude, but she IS crude--and everyone in the movie EXCEPT Howard's character knows she is a horny she-demon (subtle...not!). And, she seems LESS at ease in America than Tarzan!! Now considering that she had an American father, you'd think she'd have SOME civility, manners and subtlety. Instead, she is a curious THING for the audience's amusement. So, while the MGM folks might have thought the film was progressive in the treatment of race (after all, having a romance between a White guy and half-Polynesian was pretty racy for 1931), it comes off as patronizing and dumb. What should he do with this dopey savage girl? Eventually, Howard FINALLY realizes that Tamea is one hot tomato and he does what any man would do in this situation--he gives up his career, moves to the South Pacific with her and becomes a beach bum! What's next? Who cares?! It's all just a silly mess.
As for Miss Montenegro, I felt a bit sorry for her in this film. I assume most of her lousy performance was because of the script and direction. How could ANYONE do this part well?! But somehow Leslie Howard came from this film unscathed--and when folks think of him today, they tend to remember him fondly for his role in "Gone With the Wind"--not this film turkey.
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