6.1/10
786
26 user 22 critic

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 »
Reviews

Watch Now

From $2.00 (SD) on Amazon Video

ON DISC
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Adventure | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Island princess falls for a visiting Frenchman, but her people are against it.

Director: Delmer Daves
Stars: Debra Paget, Louis Jourdan, Jeff Chandler
Crime | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Although Vivian Revere is seemingly the most successful of a trio of reunited schoolmates, she throws it away by descending into a life of debauchery and drugs.

Director: Mervyn LeRoy
Stars: Virginia Davis, Joan Blondell, Anne Shirley
Comedy | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  

An aspiring photographer and his bumbling assistant go to great lengths to take a picture of a beautiful actress whose wealthy husband absolutely does not want her photographed.

Director: Lloyd French
Stars: Bob Hope, Jules Epailly, John Berkes
Storm Warning (1951)
Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Marsha Mitchell, a traveling dress model, stops in a southern town to see her sister who has married a Ku Klux Klansman. Marsha sees the KKK commit a murder and helps District Attorney Burt Rainey in bringing the criminals to justice.

Director: Stuart Heisler
Stars: Ginger Rogers, Ronald Reagan, Doris Day
Red Dust (1932)
Certificate: Passed Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

The owner of a rubber plantation becomes involved with the new wife of one of his employees.

Director: Victor Fleming
Stars: Clark Gable, Jean Harlow, Gene Raymond
Rawhide (1951)
Drama | Romance | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A stagecoach stop employee and a stranded woman traveler find themselves at the mercy of four desperate outlaws intent on robbing the next day's gold shipment.

Director: Henry Hathaway
Stars: Tyrone Power, Susan Hayward, Hugh Marlowe
Street Scene (1931)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Twenty-four hours elapse on the stoop of a Hell's Kitchen tenement as a microcosm of the American melting pot interacts with each other during a summer heatwave.

Director: King Vidor
Stars: Sylvia Sidney, William Collier Jr., Estelle Taylor
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A corrupt D.A. with governatorial ambitions is annoyed by an investigative reporter's criticism of his criminal activities and decides to frame the reporter for manslaughter in order to silence him.

Director: William Keighley
Stars: James Cagney, George Raft, Jane Bryan
Crime | Mystery | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Man on the run from a murder charge enlists a beautiful stranger who must put herself at risk for his cause.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Stars: Nova Pilbeam, Derrick De Marney, Percy Marmont
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

When a beautiful socialite masquerades as a maid, she becomes involved with an unpretentious, plain-spoken cowboy who's unaware of her true identity.

Directors: H.C. Potter, Stuart Heisler, and 1 more credit »
Stars: Gary Cooper, Merle Oberon, Patsy Kelly
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Sent to a dude ranch in the west to recover her health, a New York actress falls in love with a ranch owner recently acquitted of the murder of his wife.

Director: King Vidor
Stars: Richard Todd, Ruth Roman, Mercedes McCambridge
Certificate: Passed Drama | Fantasy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

A political hack becomes President during the height of the Depression and undergoes a metamorphosis into an incorruptible statesman after a near-fatal accident.

Director: Gregory La Cava
Stars: Walter Huston, Karen Morley, Franchot Tone
Edit

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
Edit

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:

 »
Edit

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  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

A sequel entitled "Green Mansions" was planned, which was to feature the same leads and creative team, but that project was scrapped due to bad receipts for this film. See more »

Quotes

Mahumahu: Taboo.
Johnny Baker: Aww... taboo bunk!
See more »

Connections

Featured in Dolores del Río - Princesa de México (1999) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
"You certainly make civilization look silly"
7 March 2010 | by (Ruritania) – See all my reviews

There was a certain kind of picture in the "pre-code" era, in which the licentiousness of the times would throw up any kind of strange fantasy. In the most significant period of sexual liberation before the 1960s, and still in an era where plucking a bride from a primitive culture did not seem a bit dodgy, a picture like Bird of Paradise could exist. A yarn like this would be the stuff of corny B-flicks a few decades later, but back in 1932 it was acceptable A-feature material.

So what we have here is a rather odd dichotomy. A daft storyline, yet one pulled off with panache. The producer and director is King Vidor, one of the most uniquely talented filmmakers of all time, and what's more he appears to have taken Bird of Paradise very seriously. His camera set-ups give an almost documentary feel to the proceedings. He doesn't force us in with point-of-view shots, or make us coldly objective, but often has us peeping over shoulders or from behind props, like an extra amid the action. This not only gives us the feeling of being there, it is also incredibly vivid and dynamic. He directs with a mixture of realism (most of the extras were genuine Polynesians) and bizarre stylisation, culminating in rituals which become macabre and frenzied riots.

Bird of Paradise also includes a couple of "before they were famous" curios. Those wild tribal dances are choreographed by Busby Berkeley. His stark, abstract formations are already evident, and nicely suit the feel of this picture. Then there is music by Max Steiner, composing what happens to be one of the earliest examples of an orchestral backing score in a talking picture. Steiner's score is a little awkward in its mixing, but melodically it is fine, establishing themes for different characters, setting tones, matching action but never once threatening to upstage the images. Berkeley and Steiner would soon take up residence at Warner Brothers, and the rest would be history. Oh, and there's one more curio, in that you several times clearly hear the Hawaiian word "wiki", nearly seventy years before anyone thought of joining it to "pedia".

The cast of Bird of Paradise are a rather odd bunch, but it doesn't seem to matter. The ship's crew members are filled out with a number of comedy supporting players, like 'Skeets' Gallagher and Bert Roach. They make the onboard scenes a little more interesting, but their appearances are fleeting and their performances muted enough that they never threaten to overbalance the picture or make it too farcical. Lead man Joel McCrea was a competent rather than an exceptional actor, but he has the ideal physique and manner for the character. Importantly he is also a generous player, who never attempts to steal the scene. And finally we have Dolores del Rio, of course looking far more Hispanic than Polynesian, but nevertheless convincing as a native woman, and certainly vivacious.

In spite of, or perhaps because of the talkies being firmly established and no longer stilted, Bird of Paradise seems more than anything like a silent picture. It does not make do without dialogue, but what dialogue there is tends to be superfluous, the images speaking eloquently enough. In other words, you could have released it as a silent, and not needed many title cards. With its mystical, exotic tone we do not really need to hear the actors rabbiting on to retain a sense of naturalism. And yes, it does contain many moments that are somewhat laughable (such as Joel McCrea riding a turtle like it was a surfboard), but thanks to its inventive direction, spot-on casting, and professional production it manages, against all odds, to salvage some dignity.


6 of 6 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?