Thursday Oct 17 04:30 PM
Doris Duke Theatre
About the Film:
Directed by George Roy Hill. USA. 1966. 189 mins.
This epic, adapted from the novel of the same name by James Michener (who donated his collection of Japanese woodblock prints to the museum), focuses on Protestant missionaries’ journey to (you don’t see the islands until 30 minutes into the film) and arrival in Hawai‘i. Max Von Sydow and Julie Andrews play Abner Hale and Jerusha Bromley, the New England couple in a marriage of convenience (like real-life missionaries Hiram Bingham and Sybil Bromley), gone to save the heathens in 1820.
In this fall-of-Eden story, Hale convinces Queen Malama Kanakoa to tell her people to obey his order to destroy their pagan idols, cover their naked bodies, and abolish their ancient practice of incestuous marriage. Traditions overthrown, the stage is set for more and more white men to come to the islands, commercializing and corrupting a simple way of life and leaving behind disease and unhappiness. Queen Malama was the role of a lifetime for Tahitian Jocelyne LaGarde, a natural who had never acted before and never acted again. She was the only cast member to earn an Oscar nomination—and she got the Golden Globe for best supporting actress. It’s part of Hawai‘i lore that Kaiser High School graduate Bette Midler talked her way into a spot as an extra, and with the cash she made fled to New York.
View the trailer.
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