Hester Murdoch is found naked and nearly beaten to death by four young Hawaiian men on the beach and taken to the hospital. Some of the men didn't want to get involved, fearing they might ... See full summary »
Hester Murdoch is found naked and nearly beaten to death by four young Hawaiian men on the beach and taken to the hospital. Some of the men didn't want to get involved, fearing they might be blamed, because she was white, but do so anyway. Almost immediately everyone suspects they are to blame. When Hester's politically influential mother Doris finds out what really happened, she fearing a scandal, forces her daughter to blame the men who rescued her, of raping and beating her. It's up to detective Curt Maddox, to find out what really happened, and their Hawaiian lawyer to do the impossible. Convince a white court of law, that they are innocent. Written by
Brian W Martz <B.Martz@Genie.com>
"Blood and Orchids" (TV mini-series, 1986) is evocative of its time (1930s territorial Hawaii) and place (its rich plantations). I saw this fine mini-series when it appeared originally, drawn to it by Jane Alexander and by its theme of racial conflict and excellent pre-reviews.
Jane Alexander plays a cold, wealthy plantation-owner who exerts her belief that the white "newcomers" to Hawaii have a divine right to exploit native Hawaiians who spend 12 to 16 hours a day in her fields under harsh conditions. She has a daughter (Madeleine Stowe) married to a Navy Lieutenant, but it is her husband's best friend whom she loves.
This man betrays both her and the husband, assaulting her. In order to protect her daughter and maintain her status as a wealthy socialite, Jane Alexander forces her daughter to accuse native hawaiian boys of battery and rape. This unleashes a series of dramatic (in the best sense) events that are surprising and shocking and seen largely through the eyes of a tough, aloof detective, played by Kris Kristofferson.
Unlike many "epics," the viewer will have no problem keeping the 15-20 major characters straight. From an exiled Hawaiian princess and a native lawyer returning from the US mainland to race-hating sailors and plantation supervisors, the characters are drawn clearly and superbly acted.
I saw "Blood and Orchids" recently after 15 years of thinking about it off and on. It holds its place as one of the great television mini-series.
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