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Two men searching for black pearls are marooned on an island when their crew mutinies. There they run into a beautiful girl who had been washed up on the island in her childhood. They must fight angry natives and a typhoon in order to survive. Written by
One of over 700 Paramount productions, filmed between 1929 and 1949, which were sold to MCA/Universal in 1958 for television distribution, and have been owned and controlled by Universal ever since. Its initial telecast in Philadelphia took place Monday 12 January 1959 on WCAU (Channel 10). Its initial telecast took place Thursday 8 January 1959 in San Francisco on KPIX (Channel 5); in Philadelphia it had its television premiere Friday 6 February 1959 on WCAU (Channel 10). At this time, color broadcasting was in its infancy, limited to only a small number of high rated programs, primarily on NBC and NBC affiliated stations, so most vintage film showings were still in B&W. Viewers were not offered the opportunity to see these films in their original Technicolor until several years later. See more »
There is some kind of story behind Typhoon or at least the making of this film. Academy Award nominations for Special Effects are not given out to films that only run slightly over 70 minutes. I have a feeling that this film was a lot more ambitious undertaking than what eventually arrived on the screen.
There is a 10 minute prologue where young Norma Gene Nelson is cast adrift in a raging sea as her father Paul Harvey and first mate Jack Carson go down with his trading schooner in the South Seas. The young girl has seen the effects that alcoholism has done to her family as she drifts toward what she hopes is survival.
Fast forward several years and Lynne Overman kind of shanghais an alcoholic Robert Preston who was cashiered from the Navy and now lives hand to mouth in those South Seas. Overman knows where there's a bed of oysters who give off with pearls as we know and he's thinking of striking it rich. But the native crew he has needs someone else to keep them in line. One of them J. Carrol Naish is a real sneaky one with his own agenda.
In addition Overman got one of the native chiefs against him when he picked a fight in the saloon where Preston is drinking for the purpose of getting Preston into the battle. It works only too well.
Overman has a surplus submarine from World War I and he's forced to put in on a deserted island. Not quite deserted because Dorothy Lamour is the grownup version of Norma Gene Nelson. She's grown up like Brooke Shields on the island without Christopher Atkins. Preston got separated from the rest and she finds him. Let's say no one's explained the facts of life to Dottie, but the girl has instincts.
Overman, Preston, and Lamour and her pet chimpanzee have to face mutiny, a forest fire, and finally a Typhoon before this film is over. Quite a lot packed into a 72 minute running time.
What's left a really silly film with state of the art special effects for their time. That does not compute so I know Paramount had much bigger plans for this film when it started out on the drawing board. It ends up really as a B picture.
But Dottie in a sarong singing South Sea island songs from Tin Pan Alley is what the movie-going public wanted.
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