Classic movie site with rare images (no web grabs!), original ads, and behind-the-scenes photos, with informative and insightful commentary. We like to have fun with movies!
Archive and Links
grbrpix@aol.com
Search Index Here




Tuesday, January 18, 2011


Bird Of Paradise --- Part Two




Then there is Dolores del Rio. She and Joel McCrea are such impossibly beautiful specimens as to make you think they're from another planet. People liked native movies because it was figured the women went au naturel (men too, for that matter). Del Rio under water and under-clothed was the whole bag as far as many were concerned, a lesson not lost on Metro when they submerged Maureen O' Sullivan (or her double) a few years later. Give this to Vidor ... he knew how to heat mercury between these two. By such measure, his was a whopping success, Bird Of Paradise being precode up, down, and sideways, wish fulfilling yet for those in quest of early 30's abandon. Someone with right elements could smack a Blu-Ray over the fence here. Bird Of Paradise nicely anticipates King Kong (same native village) and Tarzans down the road. They both took leaves from this book. Max Steiner's score, along with Alfred Newman's for Mr. Robinson Crusoe, amounted to blueprint for tropic imagining to come. Did the two compare notes for work done so close together?












Never The Twain Shall Meet was still observed in most narratives wherein white hero met native princess. Leslie Howard learned his lesson via hard ways bringing home a dusky maiden to Mayfair drawing rooms in Metro's filming of aforesaid title. Doug Fairbanks carried Maria Alba among souvenirs to America as Mr. Robinson Crusoe, but it's not understood they'll marry. Keep to your own was ultimate message wrought by south sea romances. Sample its pleasures, but don't haul same back to civilization. Joel McCrea is drunk enough on Del Rio's charms, but won't forget joys of modern life in the states. He gives a speech extolling progress at home not to be given up whatever thrill there is in going native. Joel's plan to export Dolores are scuttled when she opts for volcano diving, an island tradition he calls barbarous (well, isn't it?). Sympathetic friends will reassure him things have all around worked out for the best. Audiences probably felt so too. Kong's bitter lesson a year later merely reaffirmed that indeed, certain twains should never meet.





















RKO had major success with Bird Of Paradise, but no profits. Selznick said they piled overhead onto his negative cost of $752,000. Trade rumoring claimed it was closer to $800K. Average spent on RKO features at the time was $235,000, so imagine exec chagrin, though most recognized this Bird for a solid bet. Indeed it was, or would have been had less got sunk in production, with $503,000 coming back in domestic rentals, one of RKO's biggest up to then, with gratifying $250,000 in foreign. That last was incentive toward maybe a sequel or follow-up, according to company noise sent out on trade tom-toms, but it wouldn't happen. Reality of a quarter million lost reminded any who'd go back to the well that a Bird Of Paradise, or something like it, wouldn't come cheap. To try again might be mere freshening of red ink. To make investments like this pay would need added kick of a King Kong and island settings a lot more hazardous and actionful. A big gorilla and Metro's vine-swinging ape-man would see to these.

5 Comments:

Blogger radiotelefonia said...

I love this film.

http://www.cartelespeliculas.com/galeria/albums/025/9d100186025.jpg

http://www.cartelespeliculas.com/galeria/albums/025/9d100181025.jpg

http://www.cartelespeliculas.com/galeria/albums/025/9d100182025.jpg

http://www.cartelespeliculas.com/galeria/albums/025/9d100183025.jpg

http://www.cartelespeliculas.com/galeria/albums/userpics/10009/1932_-_Ave_del_paraiso-fr_120x160_FIORA.jpg

Dolores Del Río was a beautiful woman even in her later years. However, what I have never understood, in the early days of the sound era, is why the studios didn't put her to do films in Spanish. She could have achieved more success. It took her several years to go to Mexico to finally accomplish a more memorable success.

10:57 PM  
Blogger Dugan said...

Dolores Del Río is beautiful in "Bird of Paradise," and so is Raquel Torres in "White Shadows in the South Seas." For some reason having these Hispanic women with their plucked eyebrows running pretending to be Polynesian women always seems very peculiar to me.

10:22 AM  
Blogger Scott MacGillivray said...

To say nothing of Lupe Velez, who was cast in native-girl roles of many nationalities in her pre-Mexican Spitfire days. And Myrna Loy, who played Orientals!

1:49 PM  
Anonymous dbenson said...

Haven't seen yet, but puzzled why a sequel would be killed on economic grounds. You've got a presold title, exotic location shots from the original, and probably some set pieces and costumes. You could even bring in cheaper stars, the new girl narrating a montage of clips from the first movie as "an old island legend" for the new hero, and then present their forbidden romance on a soundstage village set. Costume your leads like Joel and Dolores, and you can use even more old footage. It's certainly been done a lot since.

2:37 AM  
Blogger PTAblues said...

Thank you for the fine article on "Bird of Paradise".This was an excellent film, I love it, so much so I made a video with scenes from the film and Dolores sings "Ya va Cayendo" a record she made in 1928

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kXGcwFyOr-s

9:22 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home

grbrpix@aol.com
  • December 2005
  • January 2006
  • February 2006
  • March 2006
  • April 2006
  • May 2006
  • June 2006
  • July 2006
  • August 2006
  • September 2006
  • October 2006
  • November 2006
  • December 2006
  • January 2007
  • February 2007
  • March 2007
  • April 2007
  • May 2007
  • June 2007
  • July 2007
  • August 2007
  • September 2007
  • October 2007
  • November 2007
  • December 2007
  • January 2008
  • February 2008
  • March 2008
  • April 2008
  • May 2008
  • June 2008
  • July 2008
  • August 2008
  • September 2008
  • October 2008
  • November 2008
  • December 2008
  • January 2009
  • February 2009
  • March 2009
  • April 2009
  • May 2009
  • June 2009
  • July 2009
  • August 2009
  • September 2009
  • October 2009
  • November 2009
  • December 2009
  • January 2010
  • February 2010
  • March 2010
  • April 2010
  • May 2010
  • June 2010
  • July 2010
  • August 2010
  • September 2010
  • October 2010
  • November 2010
  • December 2010
  • January 2011
  • February 2011
  • March 2011
  • April 2011
  • May 2011
  • June 2011
  • July 2011
  • August 2011
  • September 2011
  • October 2011
  • November 2011
  • December 2011
  • January 2012
  • February 2012
  • March 2012
  • April 2012
  • May 2012
  • June 2012
  • July 2012
  • August 2012
  • September 2012
  • October 2012
  • November 2012
  • December 2012
  • January 2013
  • February 2013
  • March 2013
  • April 2013
  • May 2013
  • June 2013
  • July 2013
  • August 2013
  • September 2013
  • October 2013
  • November 2013
  • December 2013
  • January 2014
  • February 2014
  • March 2014
  • April 2014
  • May 2014
  • June 2014
  • July 2014
  • August 2014
  • September 2014
  • October 2014
  • November 2014
  • December 2014
  • January 2015
  • February 2015
  • March 2015
  • April 2015
  • May 2015
  • June 2015
  • July 2015
  • August 2015
  • September 2015
  • October 2015
  • November 2015
  • December 2015
  • January 2016
  • February 2016
  • March 2016
  • April 2016
  • May 2016
  • June 2016
  • July 2016
  • August 2016
  • September 2016
  • October 2016
  • November 2016
  • December 2016