Two American soldiers are captured by the Germans on the Western Front during World War One and escape a POW camp only to stumble into further life-threatening adventures when they come across an Arabian king's daughter while on the lam.
After killing her treacherous step-father, a girl tries to escape the country with a young vagabond. She dresses as a boy, they hop freight trains, quarrel with a group of hobos, and steal ... See full summary »
William A. Wellman
Matthew Lloyd has drifted away from a respectable career as a physician, and lives a mediocre existence in a Polynesian island. There, pearl-trader Sebastian and his associates recklessly exploit the natives working for them as divers. After witnessing the appalling consequences of "civilization" on the local population, Matthew vehemently condemns Sebastian's greed and ruthlessness. Sebastian, however, will not shy away from any means to crush opposition to his activities.Written by
Eduardo Casais <email@example.com>
Because there were no sound facilities in Hollywood, Douglas Shearer took the completed silent film to New Jersey, where he added a synchronized music score and sound effects. See more »
The drowned young man's left arm moves by itself. See more »
Opening Title Card:
The coral atolls of the South Pacific... for happy centuries the last remnant of an earthly paradise... Islets "fresh from the touch of God"... Memories that lingered from the Morning of Creation... But the white man, in his greedy trek across the planet, cast his withering shadow over these islands... and the business of "civilizing" them to his interests began...
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How nice is it to see this treatment, this attitude, of the white man's imperialism towards native cultures in the 19th century, especially when other movies from this time period often had such blatant or casual racism. Here we clearly see the white man as the bad guy, greedy for pearls, exploiting the Polynesians, and spreading disease. It may be over the top and idealized at times, with some non-factual bits such as attacking octopi and grand proclamations against the white race as a whole, but its heart was certainly in the right place, and this notion of which party was evil was certainly correct.
Filmed on location in the Marquesas (or perhaps in reality Tahiti), it shows beautiful footage of the islands as well as the culture, such as people dancing, scaling coconut trees, shaving breadfruit, diving, fishing, and making fire. I'm not an expert but it feels authentic, and without a doubt, it's certainly respectful of the indigenous people. Director W.S. Van Dyke ("One Take Woody", who would go on to an Oscar nomination for "The Thin Man") pulls all the right strings here, from a fantastic typhoon scene, to intimate moments between leading man Monte Blue, and an island woman played by Raquel Torres. Most of the rest of the cast consists of real Islanders. Cinematographer Clyde De Vinna was worthy of the Oscar he won for the visual treats he gives us throughout the movie, and we also get a few bits of sound on MGM's first film with a pre-recorded soundtrack. What a hidden gem this film is for 1928.
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