In the second collection of Troma‚??s Pre-Code Hollywood, discerning fans of truly unbridled cinema can see two slices of wild and raw movie magic from the days before the puritanical rule of the Hays Office! First up on ... more »the menu is Bird of Paradise!‚?"In this early risque classic, 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 who has a tendency to go for nude swims at night. 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. Features Del Rio‚??s famous skinny dipping scene in an early example of the cinema nude scene. Our second slice of pre-code entertainment is the bona fide classic The Lady Refuses--A British aristocrat befriends a woman and hires her to begin distracting his son away from a conniving golddigger. She does, but finds herself falling in love with her titled boss instead. Gilbert Emery, as a patrician English peer, Sir Gerald Courtney, dominates this film as he tries to bring his rakehell son Russell (John Darrow) closer to him through a secret strategem involving June (Betty Compson), an economically distressed young woman. Veteran director George Archainbaud has strong vision for whatever niceties the scenario might bring, and his handling of the cast and storyline are top-notch.« less
"Has Amazon ever cleared up the confusion regarding the version of this movie. The jacket shows the original 1932 version but the cast is from the 1951 remake."
The information for the DVD shown is NOT CORRECT!!
Gregory J. Hibbett | Los Angeles, CA United States | 08/14/2006
(1 out of 5 stars)
"I hope that Amazon will clear up the information listed for this DVD. They list the cast of the remake from the 50's, they have the aspect ratio as widescreen. Which verson of the film is being offered here?? Please clear this up so that those that order will not be disapointed. I am not even sure that the widescreen verson from the 50's is even available on DVD."
BEAUTIFUL DEL RIO.
scotsladdie | 03/30/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Director King Vidor found Richard Walton Tully's play of the same name on which this film is based hopelessly dated and uninteresting. Producer David O. Selznick countered thusly: "I don't care what story you use as long as the title remains intact and Del Rio jumps into a flaming volcano at the finish". The stunningly exotic beauty of Dolores Del Rio made her the first Mexican actress ever to become an international film star. Del Rio had weathered the transition from silents to talkies, but due to her accent and somewhat rudimentary acting ability, her roles had to be carefully chosen; this is probably her most memorable available to the public on video. Filmed on location in Hawaii, the movie's plusses lie in its appeal to the senses, namely in the striking black-and-white photography by Clyde De Vinna - he won an Oscar in 1928 for his work on WHITE SHADOWS IN THE SOUTH SEAS - and Max Steiner's richly evocative background score, designed to illustrate everything from Polynesian native dancing to idyllic, romantic interludes. The film was made rather quickly - stars Del Rio and McCrea had other commitments - and the script was was literally slapped together. BIRD OF PARADISE cost RKO more than a million dollars to make, a high expence in 1932; this lush, albeit antique romantic drama has long been overshadowed by the largely inferior 1951 Technicolor remake with Debra Paget and Louis Jourdan."
Delores Del Rio shines in a lackluster effort
W. Oliver | Alabama | 10/31/2001
(2 out of 5 stars)
"At the time it was filmed, "Bird of Paradise" cost an astronomical 1 million dollars. Producer David Selznick okayed the project and said that he didn't care anything about the plot as long as Delores Del Rio's character was thrown into a volcano at the end. The disregard for a good story line clearly shows and the result is a boring and tepid film highlighted only by actress Delores Del Rio. Although Del Rio's voice is high pitched and she speaks little English here, her beauty and presence holds your attention. The exotic locales are not that impressive in black and white and some underwater footage was taken from another film, "The Most Dangerous Game". The flip side of the dvd features "The Lady Refuses" a low budget "adult drama" popular in its' day for presenting provocative story lines. This one involves a wealthy man hiring a prostitute (Betty Compton) to seduce his son away from a gold digger that he is dating. In the process, Compton falls in love with her employer instead. Interesting only for a peek at how films got around the censors with sly word play and innuendos.The dvd quality of both films is very good."
M. Harris | Alexandria, VA United States | 04/11/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Strange and amateurish in many regards, yet fascinating and engrossing in its own way, this David O. Selznick production is the original "Bird of Paradise" -- not the 1950s remake starring Debra Paget and Louis Jourdan, which will make for an interesting comparison if it's ever released on DVD. The stars of this one, Joel McCrea and Delores Del Rio, make quite a strange pair. Joel seems like a hayseed just off farm (his dialogue is peppered with "huhs?" and "whats?" as he seeks to communicate with the mysterious island beauty, Delores). As for Dolores, she seems to belong in a different, and probably more interesting, movie than this one. And even her fabled nude swim scene is pretty tame and unimpressive. The movie was filmed on location in 1930s Hawaii. Although the focus always seems a bit off, the scenery is still beautiful -- and a good reminder of what Hawaii must have been like before "they paved paradise and put up a pink hotel (the Sheraton Waikiki by the way)." There's also quite a bit of underwater photography, which is pretty impressive given that this movie was filmed approximately 70 years ago.Cheap and fun, this "Bird" is worth looking into if you're interested in old movies, and if you'd like to see what David Selznick was up to just a few short years before filming his masterpiece, "Gone with the Wind.""