In 1821,among the first British sailors to set foot on New Zealand, Phillip Wayne befriends a Maori tribe's chief, marries in England and returns to New Zealand with a small group of followers to settle.
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In Victorian England, two grave robbers supply a wealthy doctor with bodies to research anatomy on, but greed causes them to look for a more simple way to get the job done. Based on the horrifying Burke and Hare case.
In 1821,British seaman Phillip Wayne sets foot on New Zealand where he befriends a Maori tribe and their chief,Hongi Tepe.The chief takes a liking to Wayne and invites him to come back to settle.On his return to England, Wayne's captain asks him to bring ashore a chest full of silk,possibly without being detected by the Customs agents.When Customs agents stop Wayne and search his chest they discover beneath the silks two shrunken heads of Maori warriors.Wayne realizes too late that his captain is involved in trafficking native shrunken heads that can fetch high prices on the illegal market in England.Arrested and condemned for the smuggling of this type of illegal artifact Wayne is banned from working as a seaman and he is fined. At this stage Wayne decides to marry his fiancée Marion and to return to New Zealand to settle there.He brings with him a handful of settlers but coexistence with the savage,cannibal,warlike Maori won't be easy.Written by
This film, about white men colonising New Zealand in the early 1800's, starts off well as two sailors discover the Maori culture. Unfortunately once they return to colonise, things become melodramatic and silly. Hawkins is good, but the wonderful Glynis Johns is completely wasted. The most interesting casting is the young pre-Carry On Kenneth Williams playing, as butch as he can, a go-getter colonist. The ridiculous music score constantly over-powers the action, and the action scenes are poorly staged and filmed.
But what is most distressing about this film is its assertion that white man and his Christianity saved the Maoris from a savage society constantly at war and brought them peace. In reality white man brought mass slaughter, disease and cultural genocide. I am amazed that as late as the 1950's such imperialist racist attitudes still prevailed.
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