Bird of Paradise (1932), starring Joel McCrea, Dolores del Río
Bird of Paradise – Dolores Del Rio, Joel McCrea. A wealthy playboy falls for a stunning Polynesian princess when his yacht crashes into a coral reef. But each must overcome the prejudices and traditions of their own kind that threaten to pull them apart.
Editorial review of Bird of Paradise courtesy of Amazon.com
As a yacht sails into an South Pacific island chain, natives in pontoon boats sail out to greet them. The natives dive for the trinkets the yacht’s crew throws them. A shark arrives, scaring most of the natives away. In an attempt to catch a shark by throwing it bait tied to a harpoon-sized hook, a young man (Joel McCrea) accidentally steps into a loop that tightens around his ankle. The shark takes the bait, and the rope grows tighter, yanking him overboard. The chief’s daughter rescues the young man by swimming out to him, taking a knife and cutting the rope. The beautiful Polynesian girl named Luana (Dolores del Río) becomes an irresistible object of desire.
Swiftly falling in love, they find she has been promised by her father to another man – a prince on a neighboring island. An arranged wedding with an elaborate dance sequence follows, during which the young man appears in the nick of time, runs into a circle of burning fire, rescues her as the natives kneel to the fire, bringing her back to a distant location on another island where they hope to live out the rest of their lives. He builds her a house with a roof of thatched grass, and food is plentiful. Their idyllic life is disrupted when the local volcano erupts. The man discovers that the local custom is to sacrifice a young woman to the volcanic gods. They try to escape but realize that “east is east and west is west, and never the twain shall meet.”
Joel McCrea (The Most Dangerous Game) stars as a handsome South Seas soldier of fortune who falls in love with Dolores Del Rio (Flying Down to Rio), the daughter of a Polynesian native chieftain. Alas, their idyllic romance is destined to come to a sudden and violent end: tribal custom decrees that Del Rio is to be sacrificed to the local volcano. After initial resistance, the heroine nobly resigns herself to her fate, realizing that there is no place for her in her lover’s world. From the legendary Academy Award nominated director King Vidor (War & Peace, The Champ) and producer David O. Selznick (Gone With The Wind, King Kong). This is the ONLY authorized edition of this classic film from the estate of David O. Selznick, restored and remastered in high definition from the George Eastman House.