Made in Paradise, Hollywood's Films of Hawai'i and the South Seas
by Luis I. Reyes, with Ed Rampell
382 pages, with over 300 photos
Mutual Publishing, 1995
$30.00 softcover, $45.00 hardcover
This comprehensive and entertaining book describes well-known and obscure film-making in Hawai'i, beginning with Hawai'i's first motion picture, Thomas Edison's Kanakas Diving for Money, and including King Vidor's 1932 Bird of Paradise, which featured Dolores Del Rio in a topless-except for a lei-hula. Photos include Deborah Kerr and Burt Lancaster's passionate beach embrace in From Here to Eternity. Ben Chapman in the Creature from the Black Lagoon, Nephi Hannemann in Castaway Cowboy and Kevin Costner in Waterworld, are described and shown in still, black and white photographs.
The photos from old movies provide a timeline of Hollywood's perception of Hawai'i. The writers tell about Hollywood myths: beautiful princesses sacrificed to volcanoes ; cannibalism; Tahitians and Hawaiians shown as free-loving and lazy; and pearl diving and coconut oil touted as the main industries of Hawai'i.
Author Luis Reyes is a well-known film historian who lives in Los Angeles and travels to Hawai'i frequently. Co-author Ed Rampell is one of Hawai'i's most enthusiastic and knowledgeable South Sea film buffs. He hosts the world's first floating film festival voyage aboard the Tahitian cargo-cruise ship Aranui, Oct. 31 - Nov. 15. He is also one of the founders of Honolulu's South Seas Cinema Festival, held each Spring in Honolulu.