South Sea Sinning --- Part Two
Untamed was Crawford's first talking vehicle, not one she'd relish referring later, I'd guess, but for its time, a cunning distillation of what her public wanted to watch JC doing. MGM, like all entertainment manufacturers, made what would appeal there and then. Chances are an Untamed would not have worked six months earlier or later. Like most of the Crawfords, or any star's work, it is ephemeral, but in that happy way vintage pics have of evoking their day to near a point of taking you there. Stories would be bent, broken if necessary, to accommodate restless viewing. Untamed sheds tropic locale when we've had enough of it, and civilizes "Bingo" no later than we're ready for her to again be Joan Crawford of flapper mode. Exotic setting had become background on back lots, as would be the case with Tarzans to come.
W.S. Van Dyke came back to the subject, this time to depict paradise in realist terms he experienced during the White Shadows In The South Seas shoot. Never The Twain Shall Meet saw whiter-than-white Leslie Howard going native to ultimate sorrow and near-destitution. His was a hard lesson for succumbing to half-caste charms of Conchita
|Director W.S. Van Dyke Back On The Location Job with Never The Twain Shall Meet|
A review of Van Dyke's White Shadows journal explains how Never The Twain got its hard line. The director was a veteran of months under a tropic sun, having gone twice now to film in what he knew was fraudulent paradise. Van learned that by the late 20's, civilization had more than ruined what penny postcards had promised us. Maybe that explained two-edge swords that were all of Metro's
As with Untamed, Never The Twain Shall Meet is partly one formula, mostly another. A first half is
South sea backdrops were too attractive for