Bird of Paradise

( 5 )

Overview

Having inherited the warhorse stage piece Bird of Paradise from his predecessor William LeBaron, RKO Radio production chief David O. Selznick opted to do the property up brown, hoping to transform the Richard Walton Tully original into RKO's "prestige" offering of 1932. Joel McCrea stars as a handsome South Seas soldier of fortune who falls in love with Dolores Del 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...
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Overview

Having inherited the warhorse stage piece Bird of Paradise from his predecessor William LeBaron, RKO Radio production chief David O. Selznick opted to do the property up brown, hoping to transform the Richard Walton Tully original into RKO's "prestige" offering of 1932. Joel McCrea stars as a handsome South Seas soldier of fortune who falls in love with Dolores Del 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 white lover's civilization. A more conservative and far less costly version of Bird of Paradise was filmed in 1952, with Jeff Chandler and Debra Paget.
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
Modern audiences will undoubtedly find Bird of Paradise heavy going (as well they should), but it was quite a hit with Depression-era audiences. Forget about the plot (which includes a virgin sacrifice to the volcano) right away; even when it was filmed, this kind of South Seas romance was old hat, bordering on camp decades before camp existed. And don't count on the dialogue to elevate things; while there's the occasional decent line, most of it is trite or corny, often embarrassingly so. As a matter of fact, Bird is probably best watched with the sound off; there's nothing so complicated here that the average viewer over the age of ten can't figure out without the wince-making wordage. Since Bird's biggest assets are visual, nothing is really lost. True, you don't get Joel McCrea's easy, unpretentious way of handling this schlocky dialogue, for which he deserves credit. But McCrea's physicality carries a lot of his performance anyway. This is doubly true for Dolores Del Rio, whose character is basically unfamiliar with English anyway; the actress handles herself very well under the circumstances. Neither actor is giving a legendary performance, because the script simply doesn't allow it, but they're as good as they are allowed to be. More importantly, they look gorgeous and are given ample opportunity to show off their physical beauty, most memorably in a near-nude swimming scene. Director King Vidor gives up on the script and concentrates on his stars' looks and on the stunning location-shooting. The result is a silly film that's long on hokum and ridiculous in the extreme, but looks absolutely fabulous.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 5/1/2012
  • UPC: 738329092924
  • Original Release: 1932
  • Source: Kino Video
  • Time: 1:22:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 78,966

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Dolores Del Rio Luana
Joel McCrea Johnny Baker
John Halliday Mac
Lon Chaney Jr. Thornton
Richard "Skeets" Gallagher Chester
Bert Roach Hector
Pukai The King
Agostino Borgato Medicine man
Sophie Ortego Old Native Woman
Creighton Hale Thornton
Wade Boteler Skipper Johnson
Arnold Gray
Reginald Simpson
Technical Credits
King Vidor Director
Lucien Andriot Cinematographer
Busby Berkeley Choreography
Carroll Clark Art Director
Edward J. Cronjager Cinematographer
Clyde de Vinna Cinematographer
Peter DeRose Choreography
Leonard Praskins Screenwriter
Wells Root Screenwriter
Milia Rosa Songwriter
David O. Selznick Producer
Max Steiner Score Composer
Wanda Tuchock Screenwriter
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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Selznick Collection: Bird of Paradise
1. Chapter 1 [:09]
2. The Passage [7:24]
3. Shark Attack [8:35]
4. Night Swim [8:05]
5. Flying Fish [4:53]
6. Wedding [12:52]
7. Paradise [7:18]
8. Domestic Bliss [5:33]
9. Volcano [9:22]
10. Captured [8:50]
11. Sacrifice [9:03]
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Menu

Disc #1 -- Selznick Collection: Bird of Paradise
   Play
   Chapters
   Trailers
      A Star Is Born
      Nothing Sacred
      Pandora and the Flying Dutchman
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 5 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(5)

4 Star

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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    THE BEST WITH THE BEST CAST, ESPECIALLY LOUIS JOURDAN

    I loved this movie. Debra paget and louis jourdan were my favorite. Seen this in hawaii many times when i was a little girl. Have searched high and low for this movie. Did see it on tv years ago too. This is the best bird of paradise movie. Could not get any luck here in beverly hills for this movie.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    1952 version the Best

    I viewed the 1952 color version at the Paramount Movie Palace in my home town when I was 9 years old. Unfortunately I didn't see the ending until 1980 when it was shown on TV because I ran out of the theater in horror with tears streaming down my face when Debra Paget jumped into the volcano. She was so beautiful and .... The B&W 1932 version with Joel McCrea gets all the press but doesn't hold a candle to the much overlooked 1952 color version with Jeff Chandler and Debra Paget. The question is Where is the 1952 version and where can I get a copy?

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    I Have a this movie!

    The color version of this movie that stared Debra Paget...Louis Jordan...Jeff Chandler (and also a few of my family members....I am Hawaiian) played on television a number of years back and I was SMART enough to have taped it since this is MY FAVORITE MOVIE of ALL TIMES...but I would surely LOVE to have a Professionally done video also!!!!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    1951 Bird of Paradise

    I LOVE version with Debra Paget. It played on Saturday Night At The Movies when I was a kid. Wonderful Love Story. If anyone knows where I can get this copy please advise.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 6, 2002

    The Very best movie I have ever seen in my life.

    I had watched that movie when i was 7 or 8 yrs old and i just fell in love with that movie. i since have left calif and has never seen it again,I have looked high and low for a video of it and can't find it anywhere. i don't care for the 30's version but 1952 was an always will be the BEST. Debra pagent was awesome and so was everyone in the movie,and louis oh he was terrific. if any can please tell me where i can find this movie please let me know. thank u

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews