Tabu: A Story of the South Seas

F.W. Murnau (director, screenwriter)
Robert J. Flaherty (screenwriter)
Matahi, Anne Chevalier, Bill Bambridge, Hitu (starring)

N.p. N.p., Circa 1930. Vintage photograph of F.W. Murnau, cinematographer Floyd Crosby, a sound engineer, and extras on location during shooting of the 1931 film.

Considered the first example of "docufiction." The fourth and final film made by Murnau during his time in the US. Murnau and Robert J. Flaherty wrote the unpublished story "Turia," based on a South Sea legend Flaherty had heard while working on W.S. Van Dyke's "White Shadows in the South Seas" (1928), which would later evolve into "Tabu."

Two young lovers on the idyllic island of Bora Bora find themselves in danger when an old warrior declares the girl to be the Chosen Maid. Refusing, the lovers run off to a "westernized" island were the boy earns a living as a pearl diver and lands in debt. When the old warrior discovers their location, they plan another escape, requiring the boy paying off his debts by pearl diving in shark-infested waters. Winner of an Academy Award for Best Cinematography.

Shot on location in Tahiti and the Leeward Islands (French Polynesia).

5.75 x 3.5 inches. Near Fine, lightly faded.

National Film Registry. Rosenbaum 1000. Godard, Histoire(s) du Cinema. Eureka! 61.

[Book #148510]