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In. White Shadows in the South Seas Hide Spoilers. MartinHafer 25 March This is the tale of a doctor who is disgusted at the greed of the White sailors who plunder and exploit the Polynesian natives. Risking their lives to retrieve huge pearls, the locals are given mere trinkets. And, when a few die, the Whites take no heed.
But, when the doctor has had enough and verbally attacks these "businessmen", his is tied to the wheel of a ship full of plague victims and cast adrift. Fortunately, he finds an unspoiled island full of sweet villagers. Will the wicked White men come and destroy this paradise, too, or will the doctor find the peace he so craves? The film has amazingly good cinematography and it's nice to see that the crew went to Tahiti to film.
Additionally, the film is innovative because Whiteshadows nasty stories MGM's first sound film, though like most of these early films, it is NOT all-sound, but uses some synchronized music and sound effects. At the time, audiences were spellbound--today it just seems like a nice silent film with some added sound and nothing more. The story is very good and compelling, though at times a bit too earnest and preachy about those "White Devils" and their greed.
I am a huge fan of F. Murnau, the great German director. Bysound was the standard in many nations and Murnau's making a silent seemed a bit out of date. Was this review helpful? Some beautiful for its time black and white film footage of the South Seas and its native inhabitants are Whiteshadows nasty stories in this film by Woody Van Dyke who managed to find time enough to put a coherent plot into the film. Monte Blue is a doctor with a social conscience sick of how the white traders are exploiting the south sea natives has gone native himself and is living not much better than them.
He falls in love with Raquel Torres daughter of the high chief who is promised to their island Deity. A god is pretty stiff competition, but Blue eventually eventually given his medical training has some moves. The story is not the thing though. Raquel Torres was quite an appealing subject for the movie camera as well. The film holds up well even if the story borders on the old fashioned. JohnHowardReid 14 May Film editor: Ben Lewis.
Screenplay: Jack Cunningham. Dialogue and titles: John Colton.
Sound recording: Douglas Shearer. Executive producer: William Randolph Hearst. Producer: Hunt Stromberg. A Cosmopolitan Production. New York opening at the Astor, 31 July Sydney opening at the Prince Edward, 7 March ran 8 weeks. MGM's first sound film, with a synchronized music score, sound effects and occasional dialogue. Unfortunately, despite its award-winning photography and its fascinating title"White Shadows in the South Seas" is Whiteshadows nasty stories the lesser movie.
Invasion of the Pearl Snatchers dougdoepke 7 March Whiteshadows nasty stories are due to TMC for reviving this antique for contemporary audiences. The film deserves rediscovery. With its exotic setting and simple morality tale, the fable achieves considerable power. Especially memorable is the very last scene with the artfully posed Tiki god emblematic of what has been lost.
Also, note the briefness of that final revealing sequence showing how the native culture has been corrupted. Once the traders prevail, it's almost painful to see these innocents replaced with dangling cigarettes, laboring children, and commercialized dancing.
Though kept brief, the stark contrast took nerve on the part of filmmakers who risked backlash from audiences unused to seeing Western impact in a negative light. For rarely do we see the effects of colonial expansion portrayed in such touching terms. Sure, some of the movie's romance scenes are overlong, while others are plain hokey.
But the underlying theme of paradise lost remains as affecting now as it was then. On one hand, we regret the loss of the simple, idyllic innocence so powerfully portrayed in the trusting people and natural abundance of the tropical isle. However, that idyllic existence is also a static existence, with no motive for science, knowledge, or development, at least as the Western world understands them. Whatever their greedy motives, the traders do represent the possibilities of dynamic Western culture. Put simply and starkly, the contrasting choice is between a culture of comfortable inertia or one of developmental challenge.
The appeal of each is something to think about. Anyway, I'm not sure which I would choose, but after a long week's work, I think I'm with the doctor. The very first "sound track" film from MGM. Caption cards are still used throughout the film for the dialogue. Was also actually filmed in Tahiti, which would have been pretty rare for those times. In our story, when pearls are discovered in the waters of the south seas, the white men move in to take advantage. The natives are up against the caucasian traders, the critters of the sea, storms, and sickness when it comes to their shores.
The story is quite simple, but the outdoor and underwater photography are the high points here. Even with a respectable restoration, different scenes appear in various colors, and the lighting and sound have become slightly spotty.
Interesting scenes at the feast, where prior to cooking, the fish is carefully sewn up in leaves to keep it from burning. Where others have despaired over the "documentary" feel to the film, I felt that this was one of the strengths. Although some of those costumes and dances DO look pretty hokey. Lloyd lives with the natives, and must decide what his long term goal is, and how to reach it. Several scenes have been sped up, which may have been an effort by "someone" to move the plot along more quickly. This movie, which is part silent and part talkie, is a tale of one man's disintegration, his actions which help to destroy an entire culture and his growing horror at what he has helped to bring about.
The movie is still quite effective even now, more than 70 years later, largely because its concerns have probably been part and parcel with humanity's existence since we stopped being nom and started building cities-greed, the struggle for control, the individual penchant for being your own worst enemy at times. A most memorable and compelling film, the cinematography is beautiful it justifiably won an Oscar and the film is one you will remember for a long while.
How nice is it to see this treatment, this attitude, of the white man's imperialism towards native cultures in the 19th century, especially when other movies from this time period often had such blatant or casual racism.
Here we clearly see the white man as the bad guy, greedy for pearls, exploiting the Polynesians, and spreading disease. It may be over the top Whiteshadows nasty stories idealized at times, with some non-factual bits such as attacking octopi and grand proclamations against the white race as a whole, but its heart was certainly in the right place, and this notion of which party was evil was certainly correct.
Filmed on location in the Marquesas or perhaps in reality Tahitiit shows beautiful footage of the islands as well as the culture, such as people dancing, scaling coconut trees, shaving breadfruit, diving, fishing, and making fire. I'm not an expert but it feels authentic, and without a doubt, it's certainly respectful of the indigenous people. Director W. Van Dyke "One Take Woody", who would go on to an Oscar nomination for "The Thin Man" pulls all the right strings here, from a fantastic typhoon scene, to intimate moments between leading man Monte Blue, and an island woman played by Raquel Torres.
Most of the rest of the cast consists of real Islanders. Cinematographer Clyde De Vinna was worthy of the Oscar he won for the visual treats he gives us throughout the movie, and we also get a few bits of sound on MGM's first film with a pre-recorded soundtrack. What a hidden gem this film is for Late inIrving Thalberg decided to shoot an epic adventure film and he selected "White Shadows in the South Seas".
Robert Flaherty, a famed documentary maker, was selected to direct. Thalberg had been very impressed with his "Moana" of Van Dyke was named as assistant director, he had mainly worked on westerns, but in years to come with films such as "Trader Horn" and "The Thin Man" etc he earned a reputation as a stylish but fast director who always got films finished on time.
Almost immediately, Flaherty found the studio schedule too binding and walked out - W. Van Dyke carried on. With the involvement of both Flaherty and Van Dyke, the movie has the best of both worlds - the magnificent documentary style of photography combined with an imaginative, stirring story. Filmed in Tahiti, even though the opening credits claim it was shot on location in the Marquesas Islands with "authentic" islanders, it tells the story of white shadows in the South Seas - the shadow white men cast over the beautiful, untouched Polynesian Islands.
Matthew Lloyd Monte Blue a "derelict of the islands", is an alcoholic and despairs of the way white men Whiteshadows nasty stories cheated, robbed and exploited the trusting natives. He makes an enemy of Sebastian Robert Andersonan evil trader, who manages to get Lloyd on to a plague ridden boat, which, during a typhoon, is ship wrecked on another uncharted island.
Island life is filmed in a golden glow - absolutely dazzling. The scenes of natives diving for pearls, preparing the feast and doing ceremonial dances have a documentary feel to them Flaherty's influence and are a glorious panorama of a lost time. When Lloyd rescues the chief's young son from drowning the island people make him a God.
Eventually he also succumbs to the "instinct of his ruthless race - Greed!! Whiteshadows nasty stories Fayaway beautiful Raquel Torres finds him lighting a fire to attract passing ships, her sadness and pleading convinces him he has been a fool. More white shadows come with a boatful of traders the evil Sebastian among them who intend to open a store and send the natives diving for pearls.
The ending is confronting and not at all like I thought it would be - it creates a very sad and somber finish to a beautiful, thoughtful film. Monte Blue had been a rugged leading man throughout the twenties - this was probably his best remembered film. Raquel Torres, a beautiful Mexican actress made her debut as Fayaway, but unfortunately, in the handful of films she made, she was usually cast as island girls with names like Raquella, Pepita and "hula dancer". Highly, Highly Recommended. Ron Oliver 12 February This unfortunately obscure film, produced by MGM right at the cusp when the Silent Era was giving way to Sound, is a fascinating look at the vanishing way of life to be found in the South Pacific Islands.
Its beautiful, vivid photography justly won the Oscar for Best Cinematography. This 'Camera Record' was directed by W. Van Dyke, the Studio's on-location master. The film's prologue states "Produced and photographed on the natural locations and with the ancient native tribes of the Marquesas Islands in the South Seas. Monte Blue gives a very fine performance as a derelict doctor who finds himself acclaimed as a white god on an island of gentle, friendly natives.
His despair at the arrival of brutish Caucasian traders in this idyllic paradise is riveting. Mexican actress Raquel Torres, in her film debut, is poignant as the island maiden who captures Blue's heart. More realis -tiki than most kekseksa 26 December MGM did Whiteshadows nasty stories film no favour by promoting it as their first "sound" film. Given the obsession with "sound" that dominated the US cinema industry in this meant that all criticism of the film tended to concentrate on whether it ws or was not a genuine "sound" film - which quite evidently it was not.
It has a musical score by William Axt intermingled with a few sound effects but, since such orchestral scores were already common in major cinemas during the late silent era, only the degree of synchronisation the first work of MGM sound recordist Douglas Shearer represented any kind of innovation.
And Whiteshadows nasty stories value of the film is not of course there at all but lies, as with any other good silent film, in the strong script and excellent cinematography by Clyde de Vinna who Whiteshadows nasty stories the Oscar and would work on all Van Dyke's "exotic" films of the next few years - The Pagan, Trader Horn, The Eskimo and Bob Roberts who has worked with Flaherty on Moana and would go on rather surprisingly to become one of the principal cinematographers in the flourishing Argentinian film industry.
Normally speaking Whiteshadows nasty stories film ought to represent everything that I tend to find crass and mediocre in US film. It is a producer's and cutter's film par excellence, chosen by Irving Thalberg himself and directed by the notorious "one-shot Woody"; Robert Flaherty who was initially to have directed was sacked for working too slowly.
Yet I have to admit this seems to me in some ways the classic US film at its best before the influence of "sound" has become fully felt. It may not have been shot as it claims in the Marquesas but was nevertheless made on location in Tahiti and the cinematography is not in the least studio-bound nor overly preoccupied with continuity or glamorous "star"-focus.
It makes use of local non-professional actors and actors and gives a dignified and not altogether paradisal picture of traditional island life. Even without the influence of Flaherty, the film is "too slow" for at least one other commentator, that is to say, probably just about right for any non-US audience. To my mind, it is not the "documentary" aspects of the film one would like to see curtailed but rather the tiresome and over-sentimental love-scenes to please Thalberg's philistine colleague Strombergcomplete with a bit of "whistling" to assuage the sound-buffswhich are quite the weakest feature of the film.
Then, politically, as other reviewers have already remarked, it is a strong and unambiguous condemnation of colonial exploitation. In this respect there were two different trends in the US take on traditional cultures - the "progressist" notion on the one hand that they were picturesque but desperately and cruelly harsh the view favored by Flaherty in Nanook or in The Man of Arran and the "nostalgic" view of such cultures as "paradisial" curiously also associated, almost by accident, with Flaherty who had been unable to find anything sufficiently gruesome on Samoa and had to be satisfied with reviving a defunct practice of painful body-tattooing for his film Moana.
As a result Moana had been sold as an "idyll" and contributed to the development of a US "tiki" culture dominated by ideas of the "lost paradise" and "the noble savage". Probably this film, like Murnau's later Taboo, gained from the departure of Flaherty whose politics were always inclined to favour rather than condemn the "civilising mission".
Thalberg and Van Dyke have strongly taken the opposite view while not exaggerating the notion of "paradise" either. In other words, they have successfully steered a course between two false myths that of primitives saved by civilisation from the harsh savagery, on the one hand and that of a paradisal idyll on the other.
Here, whether originally paradisal or not, we are shown a world that is victim to a genuinely savage exploitation by the dreg-end of colonialism as in the stories of Joseph Conrad but the contrast shown very clearly in the parallel scenes of diving and in the more heavily allegorical opposition between pearls and fish-hooksis not, despite a bit of false rhetoric, so much between a paradise and a hell but rather, quite simply and correctly, between a good and bad use of natural resources and between decent and indecent value-systems.
In the later scenes the story turns totally to moral parable the corrupting "white shadow" that develops in the hero himselfbut, shorn of the more "mystical" elements of the original book, it remains on the whole a reasonably realistic representation, excellently played and excellently shot. The ending, which I shall not reveal although it is I some ways the most unusual feature of the film, is powerful where it could so easily have been facile.
The film holds up wellas another reviewer remarks, beside Murnau's Tabu and compares very favourably indeed with King Vidor's The Bird of Paradise a muddle of all conceivable myths and.Whiteshadows nasty stories
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