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The Tuttles of Tahiti

USA 1942
produced by
Sol Lesser for RKO
directed by Charles Vidor
starring Charles Laughton, Jon Hall, Peggy Drake, Victor Francen, Gene Reynolds, Florence Bates, Curt Bois, Adeline De Walt Reynolds, Mala, Leonard Sues, Jody Gilbert, Tommy Cook, Jack Carr, Jimmy Ames, Ernie Adams, James P. Spencer, Alma Ross, Teddy Infuhr, Philip Ahn, John Bagni, Bobby Barker, Peggy Lou Bianco, Spencer Chan, Birdie De Bolt, Fern Emmett, Byron Foulger, Willie Fung, Chester Gan, Nancy Gates, Irene Gay, My Lee Haulani, George Kaluna, Al Kikume, Grace Lem, James B. Leong, Tani Marsh, Billy Moya, Steven Muller, George Piltz, Robin Raymond, Max Reid, Mary Shaw, Ignacio Sáenz
screenplay by Lewis Meltzer, Robert Carson, based on the novel No More Gas by Charles Nordhoff, James Norman Hall, adaptation by James Hilton, music by Roy Webb

review by
Mike Haberfelner

Available on DVD !

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After years abroad, young Chester Tuttle (Jon Hall) arrives back at his family home on Tahiti, to find his vast family as chaotic and happy as ever, and it's really hid dad, patriarch Jonas (Charles Laughton), who seems to be unable to keep things together financially, which is why he owes the good-natured local physician, Dr. Blondin (Victor Francen) a ton of money, a debt he's tricked into signing over as a mortgage on the Tuttle home to local businessman Jensen (Curt Bois). However, Jonas has a fool-proof plan to make all the money he needs and plenty more to pay off all his debts: He challenges his good-natured neighbour Emily (Florence Bates) to a cockfight, being that Chester has brought a prime specimen of fighting cock with him from San Francisco. He's so sure to win that he bets everything - and ultimately loses all when Emily presents her fighting cock from Australia. With almost everything gone, the Tuttles must rely on their skills as the finest fishermen of the island to make enough money to pay the mortgage at least. On one fishing trip, Chester and some of his brothers get into a storm that drives their boat far off the coast, and while back home they're already presumed dead, they actually come across an abandoned cargo ship that carries all kinds of goods, including enough gas to last them a lifetime, and they decide to haul her in and claim ownership after international maritime law. Here businessman Jensen spots an opportunity, and he offers a large amount of money to buy the ship of the Tuttles' hands, which might not be the actual worth of the ship, but it would spare them all legal challenges that are bound to arise. And suddenly the Tuttles are rich, and old Jonas is wise enough to take enough money out of the bank in cash to pay back the mortgage, but for the rest of the amount he opens a joint account for the whole family, and everybody goes on a shopping spree. Plus, Chester's finally rich enough to marry his childhood sweetheart, and Emily's daughter, Tamara (Peggy Drake). But apparently the Tuttles have seriously overdrawn their account, and actually during Chester and Tamara's wedding, all their new furniture is repossessed. On top of that, Jonas has to notice that he has lost the cash he has drawn to repay the mortgage, and now Jensen wants to evict the whole family. But rest assured, everything ends happily ...


Now this movie's core message (if you want to call it that) is a likeable one, claiming you can't buy happiness with money, but that said the film is just too harmless to really deliver and also meanders too much between genres - from romance to exotica, adventure to comedy - while lacking a coherent narrative backbone. That said, while the film's harmless, it's also harmless enough to not be annoying, and Charles Laughton, on a break from his larger-than-life villains, gives a very fine, subdued performance, while the directorial effort is solid Good Old Hollywood style which should attract anyone looking for just a bit of nostalgia.


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review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD