An intrepid young sailor falls in love with Luana, the beautiful daughter of an island chief, promised to another. With little thought to the future, Johnny and Luana elope together, searching for paradise in each other’s arms.
A pre-Code classic! This era was a strange chapter of Tinseltown history, a time for the risque and the bizarre before censorship had fully kicked in. With Bird of Paradise, the great King Vidor (director of The Crowd) delivers an exotic tropical romance of scandalous proportions.
Vidor was great (I love THE CROWD), and this film gets 3 stars for being watchable and entertaining, but my appreciation for such racist garbage is very limited. Almost every scene perpetuates white supremacy and the Hollywood meme of Tribal people as "other", "superstitious", and incapable of rational thought. I know, I am supposed to be pleased with Dolores Del Rio dancing topless, or seeing coconut milk dripping
Deliriously salacious pre-code romp w/ exposed posteriors, barely camouflaged breasts, and seriously suggestive use of coconut milk. It was the beginning of talkies. The machinery was ponderous and heavy. It is impressive to see some of the ways Vidor is inspired to place the camera. It looks great. And it is deliciously stupid. Coconut milk shooting out the nostrils stupid. Some will be aghast. Some appalled.
Pretty creaky old King Vidor film that seems to have tried to cash in on 'Tabu' and 'Tarzan' with a silly story about a seaman's love with a native girl. McCrea is pretty awful here and Dolores Del Rio may well be sexy but even the film's pre-code naughtiness doesn't keep it interesting.
Please, do not watch this if you are taking it seriously. Joke (?) aside, it's one to pass without feeling guilty.
But if you have some spare time, it's a pre-Code movie, so it's kinda interesting to watch with that in mind.
Other than that, it really isn't a good movie.
I watched this film for breakfast and I am so happy I did. A little slice of Paradise was a great start to my day.
Johnny knocked that house up pretty swiftly and that coconut water must have given Luana the power to speak English! haha
Great sets and costumes, fun dance numbers. Dolores Del Rio is magnetic! Pre-Hays Code films are even more risque than I imagined as we are treated to a lighthearted interspecies love scene when Johnny attempts to mount a sea turtle.
Almost impossible to enjoy such a trite plot and flat characters. The movie is, predictably, racist, and littered with lines like, "what if i make you kiss me" and "you belong to me now," all of which perpetuate the dominance of the white male. Not to mention this seemingly harmless flick emphasizes the misconception that lust is identical to love. But as for the filmmaking, the underwater camera work is beautiful.