In one island of Bora Bora lagoon, a young fisherman, Matahi, is in love with Reri. But she is chosen to be the holy maid and therefore becomes "tabu". They ran away from that tradition. ... See full summary »
Many passengers on the Shanghai Express are more concerned that the notorious Shanghai Lil is on board than the fact that a civil war is going on that may make the trip take more than three... See full summary »
Josef von Sternberg
Anna May Wong
Life story of a charming scoundrel, with little dialogue other than the star/director's witty narration. As a boy, only he survives a family tragedy when he's deprived of supper (poisonous ... See full summary »
In this uncredited and apparently lost version of Robert Louis Stevenson's "The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" the protagonist is Dr. Warren, who indulges his evil nature by ... See full summary »
In one island of Bora Bora lagoon, a young fisherman, Matahi, is in love with Reri. But she is chosen to be the holy maid and therefore becomes "tabu". They ran away from that tradition. Will they be happier and luckier in the more "civilized" society ? Written by
Originally conceived as a co-venture with documentarian Robert J. Flaherty. As work on the project progressed, it became increasingly clear to Flaherty that F.W. Murnau did not adapt well to co-directing and that he was being squeezed off the film. A factor helping Murnau in this was that he was one of the chief financiers. See more »
[writing a goodbye letter]
I must go. Hitu is here and waits for me. You will die if I do not obey. I will go so that you may live. The tabu is upon us. I have been so happy with you far more than I deserved. The love you have given me, I will keep to the last beat of my heart. Across the great waters, I will come to you in your dreams when the moon spreads its path on the sea. Farewell.
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In one island of Bora Bora lagoon, a young fisherman, Matahi, is in love with Reri. But she is chosen to be the holy maid and therefore becomes "tabu". They ran away from that tradition. Will they be happier and luckier in the more "civilized" society?
Sadly, this was to be F. W. Murnau's last film. Despite a short life, he made many great films (including this one)... and then came a car accident that left us without another three or four decades of genius.
On the bright side, cinematographer Floyd Crosby won an Academy Award for Best Cinematography for his work on this film. Crosby went on to work for a great many years, bringing out the best in such directors as Roger Corman. In "Tabu", he uses the camera to tell a story without words -- body language and eye movement tell us almost everything we need to follow the plot.
The film was not a box office success upon release, grossing just $472,000 worldwide, which failed to recoup Murnau and Paramount's investment. This seems odd today, when it is considered a classic, but there is no secret that critically successful films and commercially successful films are not always the same thing.
The Image DVD features commentary by film historian Janet Bergstrom, which is quite excellent. Other editions feature other commentary, but I have not heard it and cannot compare.
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