(Review originally written at 13 December 2007)

The movie is no way near as a good as Murnau's most previous movies, mainly because it isn't really anything innovation. For his standards, this is a pretty standard piece of work. This no doubt also has to do with the fact that during the beginning of production acclaimed documentary maker Robert J. Flaherty (the man who also made "Nanook of the North") was also at the helm but slowly got pushed away by F.W. Murnau as filming progressed. Two captains on one ship just never work out, especially not when they have different expertise's. It's the reason why the movie at times looks as if its a documentary about the natives and at others the movie follows obviously a story. But having said that this is no way near close to being F.W. Murnau's best, says nothing about the quality of this actual film. It's a worthy enough last picture of the German director, who gave us movies such as "Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens", "Der Letzte Mann" and "Faust", before dying in a car crash, one week before the release of this movie. He was one of the most influential directors of the silent film era, even though this last movie doesn't fully does justice to this reputation.

The movie just wasn't always much interesting to me. Perhaps I just didn't liked or cared enough about its subject of a group of natives on Bora-Bora. The movie of course looks visually good and shows lot of the customs and lifestyle of the natives but the story just doesn't ever get off the ground. Perhaps this is also due to the fact that this is a silent movie, so without any dialogs but also without title cards as well. It only uses some monologues and a couple of letters that are being read and written by some of the characters within the movie.

A 'movie' that is worth a watch but don't expect anything typical Murnau.


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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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