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Legong: Dance of the Virgins (1935)

In Bali, a young woman falls in love with a musician, but he may have eyes for her half-sister.

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Cast overview:
Poetoe Aloes Goesti Poetoe Aloes Goesti ... Poutou
Bagus Mara Goesti Bagus Mara Goesti ... Her father - Gousti Bagus
Saplak Njoman Saplak Njoman ... Her half-sister - Saplak
Njong Njong Njoman Njong Njong Njoman ... The boy - Nyong


In Balinese villages, pageant, dance, music, story-telling, and religion dominate the culture. Young women may be the aggressor in love, but disgrace befalls her whose choice rejects her. Poutou, a nubile maiden who dances at the temple, lives with her jovial father and lovely younger sister, Saplak. Poutou falls in love with Nyong, a musician new to the village. He returns her interest, so her father and she make plans for a marriage, and she arranges to perform her final temple dance. Then Nyong's eyes light on Saplak. How will each character react? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Romance



Parents Guide:

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Release Date:

15 November 1935 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Dança das Virgens See more »

Filming Locations:

Bali, Indonesia

Company Credits

Production Co:

Bennett Pictures Corp. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Photophone System)


Color (2-strip Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


A musical score that combines Western and Balinese musical traditions was composed in 1999 by Richard Marriott and I Made Subandi. It has been performed live at screenings for the film at the San Francisco Silent Film Festival twice, in 1999 and 2013. In both cases, it was performed by joint musical groups Gamelan Sekar Jaya and The Club Foot Orchestra. See more »


Featured in Love Island (1952) See more »

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User Reviews

Fascinating Flaherty-style "documentary"
17 October 2012 | by adf-911-276664See all my reviews

Shot in Bali in 1933 with an all Balinese cast, Legong adopts the Flaherty technique of grafting a fictional storyline onto what is essentially a documentary film, much in the style of Nanook of the North and Moana. Photographed in two-strip Technicolor, the film is far more valuable as an ethnographic document of life in Bali in the early 30's than as Hollywood entertainment.

It's a shame the film crew was not able to handle on-site sound. Even more than the absence of actual Balinese dialogue, which is replaced by dialogue cards, the loss of music during the several important dance scenes is deflating. While the composer tries hard, there is no way he can substitute for the sounds of an actual Balinese gamelan orchestra, with its lively rhythms and brilliantine percussion.

The story is a bit of fluff about unrequited love; one that would have little relevance in actual Balinese culture. Far more interesting are the dance performances, the market scenes, and the elaborate ceremonies, preserved here in color for all time. A true step back in time, especially when one realizes that the old people seen in the film were born in the 19th century. Legong suffered censorship in Britain (for violence: cockfighting) and in the U.S. for nudity (bare breasts). Today it would be more likely to be censored for showing a couple of six-year olds (at a guess) sharing a couple of clove cigarettes.

From the angle used, I believe the deserted beach shown at the end of the film to be Kuta Beach, which today resembles Miami far more than the idyllic strip of sand and water that forms the final shot in Legong.

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