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Tabu: A Story of the South Seas (1931)

Not Rated | | Drama, Romance, Adventure | 1 August 1931 (USA)
On the South Pacific island of Bora Bora, a young couple's love is threatened when the tribal chief declares the girl a sacred virgin.

Director:

F.W. Murnau

Writers:

F.W. Murnau (told by), Robert J. Flaherty (told by) (as R.J. Flaherty)
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Won 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Matahi Matahi ... The Boy
Anne Chevalier Anne Chevalier ... The Girl (as Reri)
Bill Bambridge Bill Bambridge ... The Policeman (as Jean)
Hitu Hitu ... The Old Warrior
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Storyline

In his final film, F.W. Murnau presents the tale of two young lovers on the idyllic island of Bora Bora in the South Pacific. Their life is shattered when the old warrior declares the girl to be the Chosen Maid and it is forbidden for any man to even look upon her. Refusing to accept a life apart, they run off to another island, one that is decadent and westernized. The boy works as a pearl diver but not quite understanding the concept of money, is soon in debt. When the old warrior tracks them down they again plan to run away but in a desperate attempt to pay off his debts, the boy dives for pearls in shark-infested waters. The boy is successful but fate seems determined to keep the two lovers apart. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

1 August 1931 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Tabu See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$150,000 (estimated)

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$1,028,960
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (R.C.A. Photophone System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Final film of director F.W. Murnau. NOTE: He died in a car crash a few days before starting work on the film's music. It premiered in New York City a week after his death. See more »

Quotes

The Girl: [writing a goodbye letter] I must go. Hitu is here and waits for me. You will die if I do not obey. I will go so that you may live. The tabu is upon us. I have been so happy with you far more than I deserved. The love you have given me, I will keep to the last beat of my heart. Across the great waters, I will come to you in your dreams when the moon spreads its path on the sea. Farewell.
See more »

Connections

Featured in La Marie du port (1950) See more »

Soundtracks

Nocturnes
(1827-46) (uncredited)
Written by Frédéric Chopin
See more »

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User Reviews

Surprisingly affecting
5 December 2004 | by hecklesSee all my reviews

South Seas dramas down through the decades have involved a lovely woman with one layer of scanty clothing, and a man who is chiefly attired in bronzed muscles. Both are Rousseauian children, taking rapturous joy in carnality and in their sun-light surroundings. Invariably they run afoul of the hungry island gods, rapacious white man, or combination of both. It's a genre done in John Ford's "Hurricane" and other movies with Dorothy Lamour; "Bird of Paradise" with Debra Paget; the various "Blue Lagoon" movies; up to the 1980's little seen "Beyond the Reef."

This one has one thing distinguishing itself from the others - the cast is all actually Polynesian, or partly so (sorry Dorothy). It does bring in the common troubles of indigenous peoples: wanting to escape their stifling tribal atmosphere, they have a hard time coping with the outside world's currency economy and alcoholic drink. The movie eschews the Hollywood ending. Anne Chevalier is a treat, and a climatic moment late in the movie is directed for maximum shock.


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