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Aloma of the South Seas

USA 1941
produced by
Monta Bell, Buddy G. DeSylva for Paramount
directed by Alfred Santell
starring Dorothy Lamour, Jon Hall, Lynne Overman, Phillip Reed, Katherine DeMille, Fritz Leiber, Dona Drake, Esther Dale, Pedro de Cordoba, John Barclay, Norma Gene Nelson, Evelyn Del Rio, Scotty Beckett, William Roy, Noble Johnson
story by Curt Siodmak, Seena Owen, screenplay by Frank Butler, Lillie Hayward, Seena Owen, based on the play by LeRoy Clemens, John B.Hymer, music by Victor Young

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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After years of studying in the USA, Tanoa (Jon Hall) returns to his South Seas paradise, where he is to become king and marry the woman promised to him when he was still a kid, Aloma (Dorothy Lamour) - but he has no intention to marry her, whom he doesn't even know, and she is already in a relationship with Tanoa's childhood friend Revo (Phillip Reed) and has no interest in Tanoa either. But their first meeting takes away from the king's court, and none knows about the other's identity - and Tanoa and Aloma fall in love on the spot.

Now all of this is very much to the dismay of Revo, and she soon enough starts threatening Aloma not to leave him, and when he kills an innocent man just to prove his point, Aloma gets it and breaks up with Tanoa. But Revo has another girlfriend, Kari (Katherine DeMille), and she spills the beans about the murder Revo has committed and asks Tanoa to exile him, so she can come along and start anew with Revo without ever having to compete with Aloma again.

Tanoa agrees, and soon, Revo and Kari are off into the sea while Tanoa marries Aloma. But then Revo learns it was actually Kari who has caused him to get exiled, so he kills her returns to the island and disrupts the wedding ceremony by shooting the hgih priest (Fritz Leiber). Tanoa wants revenge even if it should kill him in the process, but then the local volcano breaks out killing all the baddies and leaving the good guys alive.

 

After John Ford's Hurricane from 1937, it was only a question of time until that film's stars Dorothy Lamour and Jon Hall would be reunited. However, Aloma of the South Seas was a less than worthy successor to the earlier film, just a cheesy exotic romance done on the cheap - and this is one of the movies where the low budget actually stands in the way of making it a good (or at least better) film: Basically, Aloma of the South Seas was entirely shot on a soundstage, which means it's full of indoor-for-outdoor scenes (there are next to no actual interior scenes in the film) - and the sets are pretty pathetic, very obviously painted-on jungles and mountains, and they also give this film a crammed, almost claustrophobic feeling - which is not really what you'd expect from an outdoors movie, right?

That all said, Aloma of the South Seas is still modest nostalgic escapist fun, it's just nowhere near the movie it could have been.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
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love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

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Tales to Chill
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a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
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tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
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Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
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Out now from
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directed by
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written by
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