...and Welcome to South Seas Cinema!
Home of Tikis, Volcanoes, Palm Trees, Taboos, Waterfalls, Moonlit
Lagoons, Sandy & Sunny Beaches, Outrigger Canoes and
Beautiful, Barely Clad Wahines found
on the big and small screen.
WHAT IS SOUTH SEAS CINEMA?
South Seas Cinema is a motion picture genre that is set in the tropical islands of the Pacific. More specifically the isles of Oceania (Polynesia, Melanesia and Micronesia). South Seas Cinema is not a new genre but an unrecognized film category. This website will help in educating all, of this genre's reality and to help promote its existence. Important note:Although generally located north of the equator the settings of the Polynesian island chain of Hawaii and Micronesia are very much included in this "South Seas" genre. The term "South Seas" although geographically means South of the equator has also a popular or "Hollywood" meaning of any tropical Pacific isle. This popular definition whether incorrect or not is the meaning used to define this "Hollywood" and world-wide motion picture genre.
WHAT IS A MOTION PICTURE GENRE?
A "motion picture" (the literal meaning not the popular meaning of feature film) or "moving images" is any major production where motion photography is used. For example, film features or shorts, television programming, commercials, cartoons, music videos, etc.. A "genre" means a category or grouping by common characteristics of artistic work. General film genres are defined by two methods, "emotional" and "geographic". Popular emotional genres are "Romance", "Comedy" or "Drama". Well known examples of geographic movie genres are "Space"or the "Western". South Seas Cinema is obviously a geographic genre. Emotional and geographic genres can inter-cross. For example a Comedy or Drama can be set in different settings like in Space or in the West, equally so a Western or a South Seas movie can also be an emotional film with Romance or say Suspense. This inter-cross of genre titles makes it, at times, difficult for those who wants to organize their film collections but for this website the discussion is centered on the geographic genre of the South Seas regardless of the emotions these productions emote.
WHAT MAKES SOUTH SEAS CINEMA A GENRE?
By the definition above, common characteristics of South Seas films or videos are, first and foremost the same setting (a tropical isle), typical images (palm tree, hula maiden in grass skirt or sarong, aloha shirts, leis, moonlit beaches, lagoons with waterfalls, etc..), steel guitar or ukulele music, common plots, and scene clichés. Cases of scene clichés are the canoe greeting scene, the big luau feast, the seductive dance, the sacred tiki god, the fleeing exploding volcano scene and oh those taboos. As one can see by these similar scenes it is by in large a fun and adventurous genre. It is also know as the "Escape to Paradise Genre" because escapism is a major theme in this movie category. Also what must be recognized in establishing this genre is its age (the first shorts where shot in Hawaii by an Edison film crew in 1898), its popularity as a subject in other media as in art and literature, and it's numbers. The South Seas Cinema Society which sponsors this website has researched and found over 600 feature films, many shorts, numerous documentaries, hundreds of television shows and special episodes, countless cartoons and several titles in other major film, video or digital productions.
This website will list all the titles that has been discovered over the years in some of these production categories. One can find these titles with related data by clicking on the SHOWS pages in the above Bamboo title page bar (on the top of most pages) or the colored underlined title word (scattered throughout the website). Hopefully more titles will be added by this sites viewers. Input will be welcome by contacting us (either by clicking on CONTACTS in the Bamboo title page bar above or on the top of any page or again by clicking on the colored underlined title word directly). Also one can input by contributing to the BLOG page on the subject "Want to add comments, more information or corrections to our SHOWS list or anything else with the South Seas Cinema website? Then comment here. (the BLOG page is also listed above in the Bamboo bar under BLOGS). Furthermore, helping to establish this genre as a valued film type are the many quality filmmakers and actors involved with these movies and TV shows. Click on BEACH of FAME or SHOWS or on these page titles listed on the Bamboo title page bar, (again, found on the top of most pages) to see and read about many of these legends.
Now that you have an ideal how to navigate through the website, one can learn more about the site with the Q & A below.
Q & A ABOUT THE SITE
HOW ARE THE "SHOW" TITLES DIVIDED?
There are many ways to divide this genre but for this website the many show titles will be simply divided unto these Production types (FEATURES, SHORTS-SERIALS, TV-CABLE MOVIES & MINIS, TV SHOWS, TV-ADS and TOONS.) All found on the SHOWS Page. One can quickly discover that included with theses titles are other important information like, year released, producing studio or production company, foreign country of origin (if not listed the title was made by the U.S.). Also stars, producers, writers of interest, and a brief description of each story. Sometimes within the description are the location of story or it's set (Tahiti, Hawaii, Samoa, etc.) and shooting location (L.A. stage, Puerto Rico, Hawaii, etc.). Note: the set of story and the shooting location can be different. For example the 1978 "FANTASY ISLAND" was shot at a Southern California location but set on a Pacific island (note the leis and Polynesian canoe on the still photo to the left).
WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO SEARCH FOR TITLES, ACTORS OR ANY KEYWORDS?
Simply go to any page on this website (click on any page title on the Bamboo page title bar above), Once on a page click "EDIT" on most browsers and point down until one hits the title "Find on this Page..." then a dialog box will open. In the dialog box just type in any keyword or keywords and click on the "Next" button. When continuously hitting the "NEXT" button one can see how many times certain actors, clichés, locations and other data are repeated within the genre. When using the "NEXT" button over and over one can form ones own sub-list for personal reference and for statistical use. This repetition also makes for interesting study and helps legitimize South Seas Cinema as a genre.
WHAT ELSE CAN I FIND ON THE SITE?
Another Page topic on the Bamboo Bar is IMAGES which is discussed below in the next question but also tuck away in the IMAGES Page under the section MICS are a couple of fun sections, SOUTH SEAS CARTOON CAPTURES and POLYNESIAN ACTOR ACTION FIGURES, a unique collection of Polynesian Actors under the heavy makeup. A companion section in the website to these Action Figures is the POLYNESIAN PERSONALITIES on the bottom of the BEACH OF FAME PAGE, here one can see some of these actors with normal make up. Equally so, a companion section to the Cartoon Captures is the TOONS section of the SHOWS Page where one can get more information on these cartoons. One will also notice if there is no caption under an image, in Windows Internet Explorer just hold cursor over the image, a description of the image will appear. In other browsers like Firefox, right click over the image, scroll down and click on "Properties", on bottom of small window read the "Alternative Text"for same information.
The BLOGS Page has some interesting subject entries to comment on and in the SHOP Page one can find not only South Seas video titles and related items of all kinds (for sale at amazon.com) but also two important lists of the Best and Worst videos in South Seas Cinema. These lists are in there own special boxes titled "South Seas Cinema Essentials" and "Cult Classics of the South Seas"-"Monsters in Paradise". Give the page time (about 40 seconds) to load these images. Actually there are some real good films in the "Cult" list not all are stinkers. "Monsters in Paradise" is a sub-genre as well as other sub-genres "Forbidden Love", "Ship- or Plane-wrecked on an Island" and "Pacific Natural Disasters" that all goes to show that although the writers and other filmmakers of S.S.C. wish all westerners can escape the rat race and come to paradise - THEY CAN'T STAY! By breaking a taboo (or tabu) one is run off the island, by the natives, or said monsters, or sacrificed to the volcano god or rescued or wiped out by a natural disaster and end up going home. Why can't a westerner stay? Maybe because the filmmakers can't stay and they are jealous or they need to wake the audience from the dream and put them back in reality. I'm not sure the reason but the ones in this genre that stay long are either stranded, destitute, drunken beachcombers or women of questionable past trying to run from their original environment or from the law. Nobody wants to be in these character's shoes or sandals or for beachcombers, bare feet.
Finally there is the ABOUT S.S.C.S. Page which is information on the South Seas Cinema Society (who sponsor's this website) and the CONTACTS page where one can contact the webmaster of this website. Do not want to give it all away. Go explore the site, like one explores an idyllic South Seas Island, discover your own things and have fun.
CAN ONE COPY ANY IMAGES OR RESEARCH ON THIS SITE WITHOUT FEES AND RESTRICTIONS?
The authors of this website adhere to the original spirit of the World Wide Web where research and images were shared without any fees nor repercussions. The fact of the matter is while the data collected on the website was from years of research most of the images on this website were founded and shared
via the World Wide Web. Some images have watermarks to help identify the entity who digitized the original image for viewing on the net and this website will attempt not to remove them
unless the watermarks where outside the final image size and had to be cropped out. *Important note: Many of these images
from movie studios. 95% of images here are from the publicity
and marketing departments of these studios (like stills, posters and trailers). Almost all items, that are represented by images within this site, were handed out freely or used for advertising purposes. The open trade of these publicity items for over the years have constituted a "common practice" for the spirit of the modern U.S. copyright laws. All images are credited with producing studio along with title, released date and noted actors within an image if any. The intention and spirit of this website however is of a resource
and educational nature. As authors of this website we implore any users of this site to reuse or copy any hard earn data or images (with proper original source information) for the same
purposes of research and education and not for selfish commercial gain. Freely
receive freely give - not SELL!
One of the most important aspects of the South Seas Cinema genre are the paradisiacal, colorful and sensual
images that were produced by the studios to attract the potential audience to the theatres or to "escape" from the mundane 9 to 5 cement world we normally live and work in. The authors of this website would be amiss not to include the commonality of some of these images as also evidence to help recognize this movie category as a legitimate film genre.
One should view and compare these images as to establish this commonality.
This website makes viewing these images not only convenient but indirectly entertaining and
fun. Just like the genre itself. These images are found throughout this site and more so under page titles SHOWS (stills), BEACH of FAME (stills), IMAGES (posters of all sizes) and SHOP (thumbnails of video covers). To access these pages click on the page titles listed on the Bamboo page title bar near the top of this and other pages or on the title page words themselves if they are colored and underlined like the words in the previous sentence.
WHERE CAN ONE FIND THESE FILMS FOR ONE'S PERSONAL COLLECTION?
Click on this colored SHOP title word (or on the word SHOP on the Bamboo title page bar near top of this and other pages), here one can find VHS, DVD and Blue Ray Disc titles that are sold on amazon.com. This website does not sell anything but helps readers find these titles to buy on the regular market. Although this is a research and educational site we encourage all viewers of this website to buy or rent these movies. Personally watching these movies is the best way to research and enjoy these titles. This site is just a convenient resource to study, find and ultimately to view these films. The authors of this website does not mind this site also being labeled as a publicity tool to sell these films and TV shows as in the same spirit the studios does not mind us using their publicity images for promotional purposes. Again all images are captioned with the important information to look up and buy these films and TV titles. Also important to note that the authors of this website encourage only the legal and legitimate trade of all copyrighted copies of these movies. Please do not search on the web and buy, view or copy so-called "black" or "gray" market illegal copies of these titles. If the studios, networks or independent filmmakers lose money they may not continue to produce more South Seas Cinema titles and besides it is illegal to buy, sell or trade these black or gray market titles in most countries. Final note: in our BLOGS people may ask where can we find certain "hard to find" titles, which is fine, and we may suggest websites that sell older "public domain" titles or other legal titles where a small distributor bought the rights to sell lessor known titles. It wont hurt to ask. Ask or comment with the Questions about a SHOW or DVD title? Can't find one? or you know where to find one and would like to share it, than comment here. entry in the Blog. We have chosen the amazon.com giant to link to because its giant legal selection of all titles whether big or small or titles distributed by a big or small distribution company. They also have a large Seller Association which sell a large assortment of new and used titles with some of them out of print. Enjoy the website and the South Seas Cinema genre.
IMPORTANT CULTURAL IMPACT
For one's information, a few important sub-genres have also been recognized. I.E. "WWII in the Pacific", "The Surf Flick", "Ship- or Plane-wrecked on an Island" and "Travel over or on the Pacific". Also other known titles for this genre besides the "Escape to Paradise Genre"are: "Polynesian Movies","Polynesian Pictures","Pollywood", "South Pacific Movies", Oceanic Cinema, or "South Seas Movies" and "Hawaiian Movies". These other titles could also be sub-genre titles or in the net world "tags"for "South Seas Cinema"
Especially now with the "Polynesian Pop" revival throughout the modern world, this genre, whatever the name, is catching on. This current "Polynesian Pop" movement is about the recognition of the influences of Polynesia in popular American culture. This influence has merit with the returning G.Is from WWII Pacific bringing home some of their South Seas experiences in the form of Oceanic trinkets to the Tiki Bar and an Architectural style found on motels and restaurants thoughout 50s and 60s America. This is all making a comeback in this new century. Now one can buy shower curtains and throw pillows with a South Seas theme and one can easily find new supplies to build and maintain a new Tiki Bar.
Of course early popular South Seas stories in book form, major screenplays and Polynesian themed restaurants with music coming from real native musicians was in vogue before WWII but no one can deny what influences the early South Seas Movies had on the western culture as a whole. Whether good or bad, politically or culturally correct or not, from sexual permissiveness to interracial marriage, from tattoos, bikinis (real pacific native words), steel guitars, surfing and its derivative sports, this genre, as well as the real cultures it represents, has a profound impact on the modern way of western life.
IMPORTANT COMMENTARY BY THE AUTHORS OF THIS WEBSITE: MISREPRESENTATION OR HISTORY
Although, as established, South Seas Cinema can be a fun genre, it does represent the peoples and cultures of the Pacific isles. As primarily a western Hollywood construct for the western audiences, almost all of these films are centered on the “white” characters who “escaped” the western “9 to 5” rat-race of Euro/American modern society. The paradisiacal scenery of the islands, shown on the screen, contrasts with the paved and cemented cities of the continents. For the most part, and especially western produced South Seas Cinema productions, the island beauty as well as the local islanders are merely background. Most Oceanic cultures portrayed in these films are incorrectly or haphazardly represented. The irony is (and there are many ironies on this subject) that for a western escapist today, one will find the same cement, paved parking lots; 9 to 5 plus work schedules; ill health caused by modern processed foods, tobacco, alcohol and drugs; the need for health care and insurance, diseases; invasive species; taxes; laws; Christian morality; and all the other high cost of living or modern ills, one tries to escape from in the first place.
While a small idyllic deserted island may still exist in the Pacific it would be hard to find one today with the agreedable yet exotic peoples and cultures of pre-contact Oceania. Most of today’s contemporary South Seas film and TV titles, especially produced by indigenous islanders, expatriates or colonials living on these isles, will reflect this modernality or reality. Sadly, and ironically, this true paradise, may now ONLY exist on the big and small screen of South Seas Cinema itself. Furthermore, this idyllic utopia or so-called "heaven on earth" of this imagined Pacific islands are inhabited on film and, at times, typecasted, with non-agressive, lazy and inorgant natives with no morality, no culture and with agreeable natures (noble savages & dusky maidens) that just invites the westerner to visit or settle with them or convert them to a so-called better life. Nothing could be farther from the truth. These were intelligent people having rich cultures and deep histories of their own. History has shown that the indigenous peoples of the Pacific had governed themselves for centuries. They could navagate the vast Pacific hundreds of years before Magellan or Cook. Their arts and crafts as well as song, dance and even sports were as developed as any European societies at the time of discovery. Also some other major omitted repersentation and misrepreseations on film and TV were; the devastation by western introduction of desease, genuine island sexuality, the real tapu or kapu systems, and colonization, modernization, and tourism with their negative impacts. Perhaps a “Warning” screen that should read before each title: “The Representations of the Pacific Peoples and Their Cultures in the Following Film or TV Show May or May Not Be Depicted Correctly” or a rating of IR or Incorrect Representation.
Homework or research in this titles will make all the difference, but for some in Hollywood, homework is money, and money is everything. Other ironies; while money and profit meant everthing for the western portrayers of Pacifica, but for the pre-western contact Pacific islanders depicted, money and profit meant nothing. Also, a modern, indigenous, independent filmmaker can do a culturally correct film for almost nothing, compared to a Hollywood film, why? Because to the islander there is no homework involved just portraying life as they naturally know it, within their own natural Pacific Island locations. For the Hollywood filmmaker the portrayal of any Pacific Island background means travel, lodging, shipping or creating a faux South Seas environment within their soundstage walls, all expensive endeavors. Now building or recreating this paradisiacal environment will cost the same, it is only a matter of doing it correct or not. With the inexpensive and exhaustive internet, proper homework can be fast and cheap. There should not be any excuses for a badly portrayed South Seas movie today. Critical obseravation of these films show that those titles filmed on the actual island a story is set in, will usually be portrayed more correctly. Access to native cultural advisors, authentic props and sets, and native casting for at least the bit parts along with actual backgrounds, always add tremendously to the production values of a film.
Alas, there is history. The South Seas Cinema titles listed on this website are, not only disasters or masterpieces, but now a matter of historic record. A record, we wish to keep and expand on, whether for the use by simple movie lovers, who are looking for fun or looking for an escape or for serious Pacific Island scholars who want to research the film archives for native misrepresentation by the west.
The final irony is that some observations have shown that indigenous audiences who see some of these Hollywood South Seas pictures are not offended but laugh at the contents of these films, even when the storylines are dramatic, why? The theory is that misrepresentations are funny for them, similar to a male impersonating a female, it never looks right, so for many it is construed as funny. Also local island audiences of a western film representing their islands, are more interested in the background, places where they personally visit, shop or trade in real life or in the case of an older film, places where they used to go or where their grandmother used to talk about. The historic and nostalgic value of the background in these films are more important than the foreground of white centric characters in a white centered plot.
No matter what one’s intent or background, please enjoy the content of history of this website.