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Pearl of the South Pacific1955

  • 3.2
B-movie legend Allan Dwan continued his odyssey through all the genres that Hollywood possesses in this jovial piece of South Seas hokum, one of three titles he released in 1955. Three treasure hunters (Virginia Mayo, Dennis Morgan and David Farrar) of varying levels of morality head to an isolated tropical island to loot a fortune in black pearls from the locals. But they aren’t prepared for the native's resistance or for their own capacity for double-crosses. "What’s one more sin… when there's a fortune to share?" leered a leggy Mayo in the film's lobby cards. Complete with island exotica and titillation ("Miss Mayo gets the opportunity to display her chassis in a sarong," blithely noted Variety while the less-impressed New York Times merely cracked, "somehow the cast manage to keep straight faces through this"), the film serves as a fascinating example of RKO's ever-evolving post-war B-movie factory and of the era’s rising fascination with tiki "culture." Further appeal is given by noir legend John Alton's camerawork and by background and location shooting actually done (according to contemporary reviews) in Fiji. - Jason Sanders

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Member Reviews (4)

top reviewer

This is your B Movie vacation to the South Seas, complete with jungle soundstage, actors in brown body make-up, giant rubber octopus, a tropical beach that looks suspiciously like Catalina Island, and Virgina Mayo in a sarong. All in all a very routine production, but not dull.

It’s a post-World War II, Technicolor beach bum daydream that gives you a sense of how Tiki culture found it’s place in mid-century America. In fact, some of the sets would make great Tiki Bars.

2 members like this review
top reviewer

"You know what's strange? Even when I hated you I loved you. You know what's even stranger? I'm going to kiss a missionary."

Three ne'er-do-wells (involved in a love triangle) join forces to swindle native pacific islanders out of their sacred black pearls. Virginia Mayo, assuming the role of Christian missionary, is allowed ashore only because the priest's son wants to learn more about the civilized world. He has the very non-bohemian name of "George." Perhaps the writer had "George of the Jungle" in mind.

Just as the priest feared, greed, corruption and violence visit the peaceful island paradise with the arrival of the new guests. George is terribly manipulated, liquored-up, coaxed into stealing the sacred black pearls, stabbed and left for dead.

There is, of course, a dramatic showdown toward the end. Guns vs. spears and fire.

Just when all hope seems lost, the most noble of the cast steps forward and saves the day. Evil is defeated and the islanders return to their idealistic existence.

The octopus scene brought back pleasant memories of the B-films of my childhood. Thanks Fandor for making fun films like this one available!

1 member likes this review
20e2d34fa40e8f79b2cadb5e6bab5e0d? m 0013
top reviewer

2 ½ The sets, costumes and occasional action scenes were fun and about the only reasons to watch this. Otherwise, it was so predictable and full of clichés that I wouldn’t be surprised if the screenwriters wrote the screenplay while sleepwalking. The actors had decent, journeyman performances in their roles as 50s/60s action stereotypes. Would have been decent late-night, channel-surfing viewing to fall to sleep to.

EXCELLENT:is the onlyword that fits for this film.