13 August 2015 | dougdoepke
What Tourist Brochures Don't Show
As I recall this little slice of b&w exotica got quite a bit of buzz back then. No doubt, that was because of the naughty innuendo and unusual locale. 1954 was before Hawaii became a state or showed up on weekly TV, so the backgrounds and people were still foreign to American living rooms. Anyway, the plot's anything but tight, running two or three threads at the same time. There's no need to recap what others have already done in detail.
What carries the film are the Hawaiian 'mise-en-scene', colorful characters, and good acting. Honolulu's Half Acre amounts to a hellish maze of rickety stairs, balconies, and walkways, all used to good effect by director Auer. Couple that with a noir character like Chester (Corey), a bosomy slut like Rose (Windsor, of course), and a slimy yucko like Ippy (Strong), along with other shady types, and who cares about plot logic. As a result, the visuals and characters rivet even when the narrative doesn't. Still, what's with Tubby (White) who gets bloodlessly shot in the shoulder and seconds later pulls a Tarzan escape with perfect coordination. Even cowboy matinees are more realistic than that, and who knew matinees better than Republic. All in all, it looks like a feature length appeal was aimed at, including something of a 'name' cast and a spicy story. Still, I'd like to know how the results actually performed dollar-wise. Nonetheless, the movie's not without points of interest, along with an ending that is not predictable, plus a Hawaii that sure doesn't show up on tourist brochures.