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His Majesty O'Keefe (1954)

A Yankee sea captain has adventures in paradise trying to become an entrepreneur in Micronesia.


, (uncredited)


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

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Complete credited cast:
Capt. David Dion O'Keefe / Narrator
Joan Rice ...
Dalabo aki Dali
Alfred Tetins (as Andre Morell)
Abraham Sofaer ...
Fatumak, Medicine Man
Archie Savage ...
Mr. Chou
Tessa Prendergast ...
Lloyd Berrell ...
Philip Ahn ...
Sien Tang, Dentist
Herr Weber
Grant Taylor ...
Lt. Brenner
Alexander Archdale ...
Bob Harris
Harvey Adams ...
Herr Friedlander


In 1870, Yankee sea captain O'Keefe finds himself stranded after a mutiny on the Micronesian island of Yap, where the financial potential of copra (dried cocoanut) excites him. But a German company already has a monopoly...and very low production because hard work is alien to dwellers in paradise. On a later voyage, between affairs with island maidens, O'Keefe struggles to find the key to the wealth of Yap. But before he can carve out the empire of his dreams, he must also contend with assorted villains... Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Adventure Beyond The Fabulous! Two Years In The Making! All Of It Actually Filmed In The Fiji Islands!


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

16 January 1954 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

East Meets West  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$1,550,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


William Henry "Bully" Hayes (1829-77) was a South Seas pirate born in Cleveland, OH. He ran trading missions throughout the South Pacific (including the Marshall Islands, Cook Islands, New Zealand, Australia), specializing in rum and rifles, but he was not averse to "blackbirding" (slaving). He was killed after a violent disagreement and his body was thrown into the ocean. His murderer was never brought to justice. See more »


O'Keefe returns to Hong Kong and stock footage is shown of people walking down a street. However, the movie is set in the 1870s and the footage is of 1950s Hong Kong. Giveaways include signs such as "No Motors". See more »


Capt. David O'Keefe: Where did I go wrong, old man?
Fatumak, Medicine Man: We all lose our way sometimes.
Capt. David O'Keefe: [repeating] Where did I go wrong?
Fatumak, Medicine Man: The whale that swallows the dolphin chokes and dies, but the whale who lives without greed is the king of the sea.
See more »


Referenced in Night Patrol (1984) See more »


Isa Lei
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User Reviews

Ah, Burt. You were great!
19 March 2001 | by (Sacramento, CA) – See all my reviews

Aside from some good old studio stand-bys, like Benson Fong and Philip Ahn (A Korean usually cast as some other Asian), this film has few of the faces that hung around the screens of Hollywood. But, Lancaster teamed up with the lovely Joan Rice from the UK to give us a wonderful tale of adventure in the South Seas. This time, it takes us to the Solomons to the island of Yap, who worship the stone Fey, spirits who reside in stone wheels cut and transported nearly a thousand miles. O'Keefe winds up becoming their king but with profit in mind. He wants to exploit the copra market but the Yap Islanders won't work. So, he hits on the plan to bring their Fey back and this is the beginning. The Solomons were part of the old German trust Islands and there actually was a man named O'Keefe who slipped in by marrying a local girl. But, the Germans, unlike in the movie, eventually kicked him out until they were kicked out after the first world war and then the Island went to the Japanese who were kicked out after the second world war and then...well, you get the idea. I loved this film when I saw it as a kid. No, it's far from perfect but it is a charming story with lots of action and Burt was at his best. But, those beautiful green eyes of Joan Rice were a delight as well. It's too bad we saw so little of her afterwards. Also, there's a lovely song from this film, based in part on Rachmaninov's rhapsody, called Sweet Emerald Isle. Check it out.

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