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White Shadows in the South Seas is a 1928 American silent film adventure romance produced by Cosmopolitan Productions in association with MGM
MGM
and distributed by MGM. The movie was directed by W.S. Van Dyke and starred Monte Blue
Monte Blue
and Raquel Torres. Loosely based on the travel book of the same name by Frederick O'Brien, the film is known for being the first MGM
MGM
picture to be released with a pre-recorded soundtrack, and also the first time Leo the Lion (MGM)
Leo the Lion (MGM)
roars in the introduction. Clyde De Vinna
Clyde De Vinna
won an Academy Award for Best Cinematography.[1]

Contents

1 Plot 2 Cast 3 Production history 4 Recognition

4.1 Critical response 4.2 Awards and nominations

5 DVD release 6 References 7 External links

Plot[edit] Dr. Matthew Lloyd, an alcoholic doctor, is disgusted by white people's exploitation of the natives on a Polynesian island. The natives dive for pearls. However, numerous accidents occur and one diver dies. In anger, Dr. Lloyd punches Sebastian, the employer. who then tricks Dr. Lloyd onto a ship with a diseased crew (thinking they are ill), and his men rough him up and send the ship off into a storm. Dr. Lloyd survives and is washed ashore on an island where none of the natives has ever seen a white man. Cast[edit]

Monte Blue
Monte Blue
as Dr. Lloyd Raquel Torres
Raquel Torres
as Fayaway Robert Anderson as Sebastian Renee Bush as Fayaway's friend (uncredited)

Production history[edit] The film is inspired by the 1919 travel book of the same name by Frederick O'Brien, who spent a year in the South Pacific with Marquesas Islanders. The film began production in 1927 as a co-venture between documentary filmmaker Robert Flaherty, Cosmopolitan and MGM. The production was filmed in Tahiti, 4000 miles from Hollywood, a rarity for the time. The film is known for being the first MGM
MGM
picture to be released with a pre-recorded soundtrack. The soundtrack consisted of a romantic score by William Axt and David Mendoza, with a few sound effects such as wind howling, a storm, trees ruffling and one faint word "Hello". The Tahitian location was sumptuously captured by cameramen Clyde De Vinna, Bob Roberts and George Nogle. De Vinna picked up an Academy Award for Best Cinematography for his efforts at the 1929 ceremonies, the second year the cinematography award was given out. De Vinna had previously been to Tahiti
Tahiti
with director Raoul Walsh
Raoul Walsh
when they made the 1923 island adventure Lost and Found on a South Sea Island
Lost and Found on a South Sea Island
for Goldwyn Pictures. Frederick O'Brien
Frederick O'Brien
had spent a year on Hiva Oa
Hiva Oa
prior to the publication of his 1919 book, living amongst native Marquesan islanders. Robert Flaherty had lived with his wife and children in Samoa from April 1923 to December 1924 filming the feature documentary Moana released in January 1926 by Paramount Pictures. Several years later MGM
MGM
production head Irving Thalberg
Irving Thalberg
was in hospital recuperating and during his stay Thalberg read O'Brien's book. In 1927 Thalberg decided to put O'Brien's book to film. Flaherty, a friend of O'Brien's, was brought aboard as director while W. S. Van Dyke
W. S. Van Dyke
was added as support to Flaherty. The production would head to Papeete, Tahiti. The new film would feature a supporting cast of almost all Tahitian islanders and/or actors with only the featured stars and a few heavies/villains coming from Hollywood. Flaherty, upon arriving in Tahiti, began shooting the film at a slow pace which was not practical for MGM. After clashing with Van Dyke, Flaherty left the production, leaving Van Dyke as sole director for the film. Van Dyke then finished the project on schedule. However, Flaherty did shoot some scenes before departing the production, and some footage of his may be seen in the existing print, i.e. '...the lagoon in the jungle scene'. A dispute over this film with Hunt Stromberg
Hunt Stromberg
led David Selznick
David Selznick
to quit Metro Goldwyn Mayer. "David thought it an idyllic story; Hunt said he wanted lots of tits."[2] Recognition[edit] Critical response[edit] Mordaunt Hall felt the film was "average" and expressed disappointment at how the film was advertised as a "sound" film yet, the only sound (other than sound effects, whistling, cheering, crying etc.) was the yelling of the word "Hello" which itself had the volume of a whisper.[3] Awards and nominations[edit]

1930, Won Academy Award for Best Cinematography
Academy Award for Best Cinematography
for Clyde De Vinna

DVD release[edit] On January 12, 2010, the film had its first home video release on DVD.[4] References[edit]

Notes

^ The AFI Catalog of Feature Films: White Shadows in the South Seas ^ Leff, Leonard and Jerold Simmons. The Dame in the Kimono, Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1990. ^ The New York Times ^ White Shadows in the South Seas (1928), Warner Archive Collection 2010 DVD edition, at silentera.com

Bibliography

Cinema Journal, Imagined Islands: White Shadows in the South Seas and Cultural Ambivalence, by Jeffrey Geiger c.2002

External links[edit]

White Shadows in the South Seas on IMDb White Shadows in the South Seas synopsis at AllMovie turnerclassicmovies "White Shadows in the South Seas" by Jeff Stafford White Shadows in the South Seas at SilentEra Artwork on cover of program to the film Lobby card of White Shadows in the South Seas White Shadows in the South Seas at Virtual History Woody directing Monte Blue
Monte Blue
in the vinage segment of the film, Clyde De Vinna at camera (*if photo won't load click --> worthpoint homepage link, then return and click) Surviving lantern slide

v t e

Films directed by W. S. Van Dyke

The Hawk's Trail
The Hawk's Trail
(1919) Daredevil Jack
Daredevil Jack
(1920) Double Adventure
Double Adventure
(1921) Forget Me Not (1922) The Avenging Arrow
The Avenging Arrow
(1921) White Eagle (1922) Half-A-Dollar-Bill
Half-A-Dollar-Bill
(1924) Loving Lies
Loving Lies
(1924) Gold Heels (1924) The Trail Rider
The Trail Rider
(1925) Hearts and Spurs
Hearts and Spurs
(1925) The Gentle Cyclone
The Gentle Cyclone
(1926) War Paint (1926) Winners of the Wilderness
Winners of the Wilderness
(1927) California (1927) Spoilers of the West (1927) Under the Black Eagle
Under the Black Eagle
(1928) Wyoming (1928) White Shadows in the South Seas (1928) The Pagan
The Pagan
(1929) Trader Horn (1931) The Cuban Love Song
The Cuban Love Song
(1931) Tarzan the Ape Man (1932) Night Court (1932) Penthouse (1933) Eskimo (1933) Manhattan Melodrama
Manhattan Melodrama
(1934) The Thin Man (1934) Hide-Out
Hide-Out
(1934) Forsaking All Others (1934) I Live My Life (1935) Rose Marie (1936) San Francisco (1936) His Brother's Wife
His Brother's Wife
(1936) The Devil Is a Sissy
The Devil Is a Sissy
(1936) Love on the Run (1936) After the Thin Man
After the Thin Man
(1936) They Gave Him a Gun
They Gave Him a Gun
(1937) Personal Property (1937) Marie Antoinette (1938) Sweethearts (1938) Stand Up and Fight (1939) It's a Wonderful World (1939) Andy Hardy Gets Spring Fever (1939) Another Thin Man
Another Thin Man
(1939) I Take This Woman (1940) I Love You Again
I Love You Again
(1940) Bitter Sweet (1940) Rage in Heaven
Rage in Heaven
(1941) The Feminine Touch (1941) Shadow of the Thin Man
Shadow of the Thin Man
(1941) Dr. Kildare's Victory
Dr. Kildare's Victory
(1942) I Married an Angel (1942) Cairo (1942) Journey for Margaret
Journey for Margaret
(1942)

v t e

Films directed by Robert J. Flaherty

Nanook of the North
Nanook of the North
(1922) Moana (1926) The Twenty-four Dollar Island (1927) White Shadows in the South Seas (1928) Tabu (1931) Man of Aran (1934) Oidhche Sheanchais
Oidhche Sheanchais
(1935) Elephant Boy (1937) The Land (1942) Louisiana Story
Louisiana Story
(1948)

v t e

Irving Thalberg

Producer

The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923) Merry-Go-Round (1923) His Hour
His Hour
(1924) He Who Gets Slapped
He Who Gets Slapped
(1924) The Unholy Three (1925) The Merry Widow (1925) The Tower of Lies
The Tower of Lies
(1925) The Big Parade
The Big Parade
(1925) Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ (1925) Torrent (1926) La Bohème (1926) Brown of Harvard (1926) The Road to Mandalay (1926) The Temptress
The Temptress
(1926) Valencia (1926) Flesh and the Devil
Flesh and the Devil
(1926) Twelve Miles Out
Twelve Miles Out
(1927) The Student Prince in Old Heidelberg
The Student Prince in Old Heidelberg
(1927) London After Midnight (1927) The Crowd (1928) Laugh, Clown, Laugh
Laugh, Clown, Laugh
(1928) White Shadows in the South Seas (1928) Show People
Show People
(1928) West of Zanzibar (1928) The Broadway Melody
The Broadway Melody
(1929) The Trial of Mary Dugan (1929) Voice of the City
Voice of the City
(1929) Where East Is East
Where East Is East
(1929) The Last of Mrs. Cheyney (1929) The Hollywood Revue of 1929
The Hollywood Revue of 1929
(1929) Hallelujah (1929) His Glorious Night
His Glorious Night
(1929) The Kiss (1929) Anna Christie (1930) Redemption (1930) The Divorcee
The Divorcee
(1930) The Rogue Song
The Rogue Song
(1930) The Big House (1930) The Unholy Three (1930) Let Us Be Gay (1930) Billy the Kid (1930) Way for a Sailor
Way for a Sailor
(1930) A Lady's Morals (1930) Inspiration (1931) Trader Horn (1931) The Secret Six
The Secret Six
(1931) A Free Soul
A Free Soul
(1931) Just a Gigolo (1931) The Sin of Madelon Claudet (1931) The Guardsman (1931) The Champ (1931) Possessed (1931) Private Lives (1931) Mata Hari (1931) Freaks
Freaks
(1932) Tarzan the Ape Man (1932) Grand Hotel (1932) Letty Lynton (1932) As You Desire Me (1932) Red-Headed Woman
Red-Headed Woman
(1932) Smilin' Through (1932) Red Dust (1932) Rasputin and the Empress
Rasputin and the Empress
(1932) Strange Interlude (1932) Tugboat Annie
Tugboat Annie
(1933) Bombshell (1933) Eskimo (1933) Riptide (1934) The Barretts of Wimpole Street (1934) The Merry Widow (1934) What Every Woman Knows (1934) No More Ladies
No More Ladies
(1935) China Seas (1935) Mutiny on the Bounty (1935) A Night at the Opera (1935) Riffraff (1936) Romeo and Juliet (1936) Camille (1936) Maytime (1937) A Day at the Races (1937) Broadway Melody of 1938
Broadway Melody of 1938
(1937) The Good Earth (1937) Marie Antoinette (1938)

Writer

The Trap (1922)

People

Norma Shearer
Norma Shearer
(wife) Irving Thalberg, Jr. (son)

Related

The Love of the

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