White Shadows in the South Seas 1928 Ages 12+
8.00PM Wed 28 Feb 2018 (1hr 29mins)
GOMA | Cinema A | Free
White Shadows in the South Seas is a cautionary tale of colonial exploitation in the South Pacific. Based on the Frederick O'Brien travel book of the same name, which inspired a wave of interest in South Pacific Islands and culture, the film follows Dr Matthew Lloyd (Monte Blue), a disgraced alcoholic, living among the locals of Marquesas Islands and treating illnesses caused by the dangerous conditions endured by the local pearl divers. When a diver dies, Lloyd attacks one of the greedy traders and is thrown onto a disease infested boat in retribution. A wild storm washes Lloyd ashore onto an 'untouched' island, one not yet discovered by foreigners. Offered a second chance, he is transformed into a 'white god' after saving a young Islander and marries the Chief's daughter Fayaway (Raquel Torres). His demons resurface however when he finds a large pearl discarded in the sand.
After the success of Robert Flaherty's documentary Moana 1926, MGM decided to make their own escape to paradise film upping the ante by filming on location in Tahiti, a rarity for the time, and committing to produce their first film with pre-recorded sounds featuring birds, sound effects and the studio's first piece of dialogue 'hello' spoken by their lead. Featuring Hollywood actors alongside a Tahitian cast, the film questioned the notion that an unspoiled paradise could pardon Western sins and offer redemption. Flaherty was invited to direct the film, with the assistance of W S Van Dyke, but left the production citing creative differences. Clyde De Vinna's sweeping cinematography garnered an Academy Award. His assistant, Floyd Crosby, would win the award two years later for his work on Tabu: Story of the South Seas 1931.
35MM, BLACK AND WHITE, MONO, 88 MINUTES, UNITED STATES, ENGLISH INTERTITLES (SYNCHRONIZED MUSIC AND EFFECTS) / DIRECTOR: WS VAN DYKE, ROBERT J FLAHERTY / PRODUCER: HUNT STROMBERG, IRVING THALBERG / SCRIPT: RAY DOYLE, JACK CUNNINGHAM, JOHN COLTON / BASED ON THE 1919 NOVEL OF THE SAME NAME BY FREDERICK O'BRIEN / CINEMATOGRAPHER: CLYDE DE VINNA, GEORGE GORDON NOGLE, BOB ROBERTS / EDITOR: BEN LEWIS / CAST: MONTE BLUE, RAQUEL TORRES, ROBERT ANDERSON, DOROTHY JANIS / MUSIC: WILLIAM AXT / PRODUCTION COMPANY: METRO-GOLDWYN-MAYER, COSMOPOLITAN PRODUCTIONS / PRINT SOURCE/RIGHTS: PARK CIRCUS / SCREENING FORMAT: DIGITAL VIDEO