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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

His Majesty O'Keefe (1954)

In 1870, an Irish-American (Burt Lancaster) decides to compete with a German monopoly in an attempt to harvest copra (from which coconut oil is derived) on a South Pacific island. The island's natives aren't inclined to do much work, however. But his industriousness mixed with his wiles and a dash of arrogance not only wins them over but he is soon declared King of the island. As far fetched as it may seem, the film is based on actual events. There really was a David O'Keefe. The film is a rather inconsequential adventure with Lancaster, once again, displaying his considerable athletic prowess. His early life as a circus acrobat held him in good stead. It's not as fun as his other adventure films of the 1950s (FLAME AND THE ARROW, CRIMSON PIRATE) but it moves quickly. The film was majestically (no pun intended) shot on location in the Fiji islands. Directed by Byron Haskin with a rambunctious score by Dimitri Tiomkin that tends to hit you over the head a bit too often. With Joan Rice, Andre Morell, Abraham Sofaer, Philip Ahn and Benson Fong.

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