In the Island of Manukura, a French colony in the South Seas, the joyful Terangi is a leader among the natives and the first mate of the Katopua, the tall ship of Captain Nagle. Terangi gets married with Marama and sooner he sails to Tahiti. While in a bar playing with other natives, Terangi is offended by an alcoholic racist French and he hits his face, breaking his jaw. Despite the testimony of Captain Nagle, Terangi is sentenced to six months of forced labor since the victim had political connections with the Powers That Be. Captain Nagle asks the Governor Eugene DeLaage to uses his influence to help Terangi, but the governor refuses. Terangi unsuccessfully tries to escape from the prison, and each attempt increases his sentence. Eight years later, he finally escapes and his jailbreak is celebrated in Manukura. Father Paul finds his canoe and brings Terangi to the island. But a devastating hurricane also arrives in the island threatening the dwellers.Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
The Isle of Manakoora in the South Seas is an idyllic place. Swaying palm trees & warm ocean waters enhance the enchantment. The contented population idolize Terangi (Jon Hall), one of their native sons, first mate on an important trading ship & new husband of Marama (Dorothy Lamour), daughter of the Chief. But when Terangi falls foul of the laws on Tahiti, and is cruelly imprisoned there, only the 'wind that blows away the world' -THE HURRICANE - can scour away the injustices heaped upon him.
This is one of the great films of the 1930's - pure escapist entertainment. It creates a place that never existed, in this case Manakoora, and makes it seem totally real to the viewer. It's also a superb example of the magic performed by the folks in Hollywood's special effects departments. The storm which climaxes the movie is unsurpassed in its cinematic power & emotion.
Lamour & Hall are both excellent in their roles and are totally believable in the tribulations they endure as part of the plot. Lamour was kidded for the rest of her life about the 'sarong parts' she played in, but there was no reason to be ashamed for participation in this classic. As for Hall, (whose mother was Tahitian and whose uncle, James Norman Hall, wrote the story on which THE HURRICANE was based) this was his finest role; he was never to achieve the major stardom he deserved. Suffering from cancer, he died a suicide in 1979 at the age of 66.
The rest of the cast is equally topnotch: Raymond Massey, the stiff-necked Governor; Mary Astor, his sympathetic wife; Thomas Mitchell, the island's alcoholic doctor; Al Kikume, the native Chief; Jerome Cowan, a friendly captain; John Carradine, the satanic Tahitian prison warden; and marvelous old Sir C. Aubrey Smith, as the island's wise priest.
A couple of small quibbles: Would an island as small as Manakoora really have its own French Governor? And shouldn't this Pacific Ocean tropical storm more accurately be called a typhoon? Hurricanes are generally found in the Atlantic Ocean.
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