Bird of Paradise
Sunday Oct 20 04:30 PM
Doris Duke Theatre
About the Film:
Directed by King Vidor. 1932. 80 mins.
Last year, this film was rereleased on Blu-ray sourced from an original nitrate print—and the results are stunning. This is legendary Oscar-winning director King Vidor’s (The Crowd, Duel in the Sun) contribution to the Depression-era fascination with primitivism (Tabu was part of this trend). It’s exotic Polynesia reimagined with Busby Berkeley dance numbers and lots of pre-code skin. Johnny (Joel McCrea) is an intrepid young sailor traveling the South Seas who falls in love with Luana (Dolores del Rio), a chief’s daughter who is not only betrothed to a neighboring native prince, but also is the sacrificial lamb should Madame Pele blow her top. With little thought to the future, Johnny and Luana elope, searching for paradise in each other’s arms. With McCrea at his most dashing and del Rio at her alluring height, Bird Of Paradise is a movie of wild eroticism, thrilling adventure, and, by today’s standards, racism.
View a clip from the movie.
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