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The second film reprised, albeit more loosely, Thomas Ince’s Aloha Oe. Both films referred to the dangers of interracial love. In Never the Twain Shall Meet (MGM, 1931) “Tamea” (played by Spanish actress Conchita Montenegro) seduces Dan Pritchard (Lesley Howard) who leaves his fiancée and follows the Islander back to her South Seas home. Dan assumes the beachcomber guise and, encouraged by Tamea’s promiscuity, his deterioration begins. ” Dan returns to civilization and is restored. In Ince’s 1915 version of Aloha Oe, the white man’s fiancée presumes her betrothed is dead and remarries, leaving him to return to the South Seas and a happy tropical future.

Reflecting Nordhoff and Hall’s depiction of the Bounty story, the film attributed the mutiny largely to Captain William Bligh’s character failings, rather than to the sexual allure of the Tahitian women. Yet in selling the film to the public, MGM emphasized the relationships between the mutineers and the Tahitian women. ’”50 Central to this authenticity was the characterization of Islander women. Early publicity for the film made much of the fact that the two female leads in the film were Tahitian.

67 The box office success of the South Seas genre during the late 1930s, and Dorothy Lamour’s elevation to one of Hollywood’s brightest stars, suggests that the cinema-going public accepted what they saw. ”68 There were several factors underpinning this fascination with Island women. In the first instance, the rise of the South Seas genre must be understood in the context of white American anxieties around race relations in the United States. 69 But the interest in the South Seas maiden long predated Hollywood or the imposition of the Production Code, and Vasey’s explanation should be seen in the context of deeper questions about race, sex, and power.

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