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Bird of Paradise (1932)

Passed | | Adventure, Romance, Drama | 12 August 1932 (USA)
A native girl falls for a visitor to her island, but she's chosen to be sacrificed to the volcano god.

Director:

Writers:

(play), (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
Mac
...
Chester
...
Hector
...
Thornton (as Creighton Chaney)
Wade Boteler ...
Skipper Johnson
...
Walker
Reginald Simpson ...
O'Fallon
Napoleon Pukui ...
The King
Agostino Borgato ...
Medicine Man
Sofia Ortega ...
Mahumahu
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Storyline

A young man falls overboard and is saved by a beautiful Polynesian girl. They fall in love, but their idyll is smashed when the local volcano begins to erupt. The man discovers that the local custom is to sacrifice a young woman to the volcanic gods. They try to escape but realize that "east is east and west is west, and never the twain shall meet." Written by Ed Lorusso

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

12 August 1932 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Ave do Paraíso  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (FMC Library Print)

Sound Mix:

(RCA Photophone System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The native village huts were later reused for the inhabitants of Skull Island in RKO's classic King Kong (1933). See more »

Quotes

Chester: What do they call this place?
Johnny Baker: Probably one of the Virgin Islands
Chester: Heaven forbid.
See more »

Connections

Featured in David O. Selznick: 'Your New Producer' (1935) See more »

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User Reviews

Interesting In a Number of Respects, & Del Rio Is Dazzling
3 February 2006 | by (Ohio) – See all my reviews

This feature is interesting in a number of respects, both in its techniques and in its subject matter. And if neither of those is enough, Dolores Del Rio has a role that allows her to dazzle the viewer with her beauty and her screen presence. A young-looking Joel McCrea, as her co-star, is himself earnest and likable, though he is overshadowed by Del Rio in their scenes together.

The story starts off with McCrea, as a sailor on a yacht, being rescued from a shark by Del Rio, as the daughter of the king of a native tribe. Romance develops from there, with McCrea's character dreaming of taking her back home with him when his trip is done, but having his plans hindered by the responsibilities she faces as a king's daughter. (Why any man, given the opportunity to live alone with a woman like Del Rio on a tropical island, would yearn for 'civilization', is also a pretty good question.)

The story features some rather sensitive themes in the running contact between the two cultures. If it does not always face them comfortably, at least it is relatively even-handed much of the time. Although some 'primitive' beliefs are ascribed to the natives' culture, they are portrayed as sincere beliefs. There are also a number of points of interest on the technical side. Most obviously, there are the wealth of atmospheric shots of the tropical setting. But beyond that, there are a few interesting attempts to offer some interesting views with the camera, such as the water-level shots in the opening sailing sequence.

One particularly interesting idea is that, for a long time, the language barrier is allowed to stand realistically between the characters, especially in McCrea's efforts to communicate, instead of using a stock device to get around it. Only much later is it assumed that Del Rio's character has learned enough English to be able to communicate.

Certainly, there are times when this feature shows a little of its age, and in some respects it's not completely successful. But it would probably be worth watching to see Del Rio alone, and the rest of it contains several interesting aspects.


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