I have spent some time this week watching old films from the 1930’s and 1940’s. I have been semi housebound with a very nasty cold or flu, so it was a great time to go to Netfilx and stream some old films. I watched the original Bird of Paradise today. The movie stars Delores Del Rio and Joel McCrae as the star crossed lovers. Delores is the daughter of the King of a South Pacific Island. McCrae plays the sailor who falls for her although she is promised by her father to an island Prince. The movie was considered scandalous in 1932 because of Delores Del Rio’s nude swimming scenes. There are also some scenes of her dancing where she appears to be topless except for the flowers from her lei. Of course this was filmed before the Hayes code in Hollywood so nudity was not completely forbidden. Joel and Delores spend a lot of time in the jungle with him only wearing a loin cloth type wrap and she in her island outfits. Its all kind of racey for the time period but quite tame by todays standards of course. B ut there is a strong sexual tension all throughout the film. Of course the lovers are doomed to their fate, and Delores’ character has to chose between her love for Joel McCrae or the love for her people when her island is threatened by volcanic eruption. Delores sacrifices herself for her people by throwing herself into the volcano and leaving Joel behind.
I saw the remake from 1951 Debra Pagent, but it seemed very dated when it was made. The original is much more fun to watch. The acting is very much close to the silent movie style of acting which makes it fun to watch just from a historic stand point for me. Although the acting is of a different style I still find Delores throwing herself to the volcano more believable than Debra Pagent. Also for an old blackand white film, the scenery is still beautiful and the special effects for the time period are quite good.
Dangerous whirlpools, volcanoes, two beautiful star crossed lovers, and exotic locations. What more could I ask for while trapped in the house nursing the flu?
What did you think of this review?