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Diamond Head (1962)

Not Rated | | Drama, Romance | 27 December 1962 (Japan)
Rich Hawaiian pineapple grower and US Senatorial candidate Richard Howland tries to control everything and everyone around him, including his headstrong sister, Slone. Howland learns the ... See full summary »


Guy Green


Marguerite Roberts (screenplay), Peter Gilman (novel)




Credited cast:
Charlton Heston ... Richard 'King' Howland
Yvette Mimieux ... Sloane Howland
George Chakiris ... Dr. Dean Kahana
France Nuyen ... Mai Chen
James Darren ... Paul Kahana
Aline MacMahon ... Kapiolani Kahana
Elizabeth Allen ... Laura Beckett
Vaughn Taylor ... Judge James Blanding
Marc Marno Marc Marno ... Bobbie Chen
Philip Ahn ... Mr. Immacona
Harold Fong Harold Fong ... Coyama, Howland Cook
Edward Mallory ... Robert Parsons
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Billie Dove ... Undetermined Secondary Role (scenes deleted)
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Rich Hawaiian pineapple grower and US Senatorial candidate Richard Howland tries to control everything and everyone around him, including his headstrong sister, Slone. Howland learns the hard way that money and power cannot buy love and happiness. Written by Marinelle K. Szenasy

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The Giant Story of Modern Hawaii!


Drama | Romance


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Although considerable publicity announced the return of Billie Dove to the screen in this film, after a thirty year absence, her scenes ended up on the cutting room floor, and she is nowhere to be seen. See more »


Coyama, Howland Cook: Miss Sloan, you got "number one" bottom.
See more »


Featured in Kauai Thru Hollywood (2014) See more »

User Reviews

Pineapple Flavored Soap
19 February 2009 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

I wonder if the late J. Strom Thurmond of South Carolina ever saw this film. He would have understood the character of Charlton Heston in this movie as few others are capable of. As we all know, several years after Thurmond's death in 2003 at 101, a black woman who was his illegitimate daughter came out with a book about the South's long standing segregationist and Dixiecrat candidate for president in 1948.

The film is set in Hawaii in 1959 just upon Hawaii's admission as a state and Charlton Heston comes from a family not unlike the Parkers who still have a ranch on Hawaii's big island that takes a lot acreage there and is the state Ponderosa. Heston's being touted as someone who could be one of their first two US Senators. He's a widower whose wife and son were killed years ago in the famous tidal wave at Hilo and lives at the ranch with his wife's sister Elizabeth Allan and his sister Yvette Mimieux.

Having visited Hawaii for a glorious week I can speak to Hawaii's reputation for tolerance, but even paradise will have a few racial trolls. Even though he's got a Eurasian mistress, France Nuyen of long standing whom he's just put in a family way, he objects mightily to the proposed interracial marriage of native Hawaiian James Darren and Mimieux. When his objections become the underlying cause of tragedy, Heston's political career is shot to pieces. What might fly in Alabama has no place in Hawaii.

During his career Heston also played Thomas Jefferson which came out the same year as Diamond Head. I'm wondering if he didn't channel some of Jefferson into playing 'King' Howland who had a well known backstairs interracial relationship with Sally Hemmings. If Patsy or Polly Jefferson had ever come to father and said they were going to marry some free black man, I imagine Jefferson would have reacted the same way as Heston does with Mimieux.

Diamond Head is a nice Hawaiian soap opera which could have made some great prime time Dynasty like viewing with a pineapple twist. But it fails utterly in conveying any serious message about racial tolerance. Still you can't shoot a bad looking film on Hawaii and since the cast shot it on location, they're all ahead of the game if they got to spend time on the islands. Charlton Heston even got to do it again several years later in The Hawaiians.

Besides those I've mentioned look for George Chakiris as Darren's half brother, Aline McMahon as their mom and Philip Ahn as a most efficient police inspector. What I liked about what Ahn did with the part is that it could have been played like Charlie Chan and it wasn't.

You can never go wrong with a Hawaiian based film. Even the worst films are never bad looking and Diamond Head is far from the worst.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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Release Date:

27 December 1962 (Japan) See more »

Also Known As:

Diamond Head See more »

Filming Locations:

Hanalei, Kaua'i, Hawaii, USA See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)


Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

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