Bird of Paradise

Vidor's take on the South Sea idyll finds him on feverishly extravagant form, epitomised by the scene where a lightly clad, trussed-up white boy and native girl, under sentence of imminent death, contort themselves to achieve a final kiss. Packed off to the tropics with a cast-iron studio imperative ('Three good love scenes and Del Rio jumping into a flaming volcano at the finish'), Vidor returned with about thirty good love scenes, interrupted by a shark attack, a giant whirlpool and some exotic dancing devised by Busby Berkeley. Only the volcano seems inhibited. In other words this is Vidor at his most erratic, combining bathetic plotting and uninflected stereotypes with some smouldering pre-Code sexuality and the exercise, intermittently, of a powerful cinematic imagination.

Release details

Duration: 85 mins

Cast and crew

Director: King Vidor
Screenwriter: Wells Root, Wanda Tuchock, Leonard Praskins
Cast: Joel McCrea
Dolores Del Rio
John Halliday
Skeets Gallagher
Bert Roach
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