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  • "Hawaii," based on about one-third of the Michener novel, is one of those big, old-fashioned epics, full of wistful vistas, compelling performances, and casts of thousands.

    Julie Andrews' acting abilities shine as bright as the tropical sun in this story of a New England woman who accompanies her stodgy husband to the islands on a mission to convert the heathens. Andrews' buoyant on-screen persona is held in check here (as it is in the overly criticized "Darling Lili"), making her Jerusha a quiet heroine. Her childbirth scene is effective for the visceral reaction it creates, and she's got one whopping good speech toward the end, where she finally gives her stick-in-the-mud hubby what-for.

    Von Sydow, who would work with Andrews again later in "Duet for One," is all bluster and bellowing, condemning just about everyone he comes in contact with. I find the performance rather one-note; however, the opening scenes in which Hale tries to woo the lovely Jerusha are sweetly awkward.

    Richard Harris shows up as a long-lost sea captain in one of moviedom's most impossible coincidences. Harris is all fire and passion, exactly the kind of third-party that a juicy love triangle needs.

    George Roy Hill's direction keeps things moving at a brisk pace, despite the lengthy running time. He had a gorgeous palette to paint with, and he takes full advantage. The sea trek--complete with storms--suffers from some very obvious blue-screening, but Hill manages to build an appropriate sense of excitement.

    I'm also going to carp with costumer Dorothy Jeakins. Andrews costumes are lovely (but consider what Jeakins had to work with), but Von Sydow goes running throughout the movie with his stove-pipe hat cemented onto his head. Works okay for the New England settings, but once the cast hits the beach, he ends up looking like some kind of absurd Dr. Doolittle (Hugh Lofting's, creation, not Eddie Murphy's).

    Jeakins also makes a very brief appearance (her role was trimmed mightily) as Hale's mother.

    While on the subject of the supporting players, LaGarde had no acting experience whatsoever (and, hence, drove the production schedule and budget way off base), but she's utterly charming. She more than earned her Oscar nomination.

    Funny to see a pre-Archie Carroll O'Connor in the New England sequences. Also watch for Heather Menzies as one of Jerusha's younger sisters. Two years earlier, she had played Louisa von Trapp to Andrews' Maria. Gene Hackman's here, too, as a put-upon doctor.

    One last note: If you're going to seek out this treasure, please, please, please opt for the widescreen version. The rocking of the boat sickened many of the passengers on their way to paradise, and likewise, the pan-and-scan version will sicken viewers of this terrific epic.
  • After seeing the movie on cable a few months ago, I decided to read the book.

    The movie is only about one-fifth of the whole book. Too bad. The movie leaves a lot of unresolved plot threads which are resolved later in the book. Subplots which seem inconsequential turn out to have major implications to the plot of the novel. Minor characters from the movie become more important as the story progresses. For example, Gene Hackman's Dr. John Whipple and Richard Harris' Raefer Hoxworth have only a few scenes in Hawaii, but their characters are perhaps the two most important characters in the book. Whipple and Hoxworth are the ones who challenge the authority of the missionaries and, in a sense, are the true foils to Abner Hale. They also are the ones who go into business.

    As a result, the movie, standing by itself, tends to introduce characters and subplots with no relevancy to the main Abner-Jerusha-Malama-Keolo story line. Perhaps a sequel was planned? In short, Hawaii would have worked better as a mini-series.

    ********************* How the Novel Ends:

    Abner Hale's son, Micah, who was last seen getting a boat to the mainland to attend Yale University, becomes a minister like his father. The sea captain, Raefer Hoxworth, marries Noelini, the daughter of the Alii Nui. Micah then meets and falls in love with Raefer's and Noelini's daughter. They get married. Abner Hale scorns Micha; claiming the Micah has gone "whoring with the heathens." Micah quits the ministry and becomes a partner in Raefer Hoxworth's shipping company - now called Hoxworth and Hale.

    John Whipple and Retire Janders (the captain of the ship that brought the missionaries to Hawaii) are partners in Janders & Whipple. Initially a trading company, general store, and ship chandler, they start acquiring land and growing sugar. J&W eventually becomes a plantation company and needs cheap labor to work their fields. John Whipple imports Chinese workers.

    A generation after the movie ends, the descendants of Hale, Whipple, Janders, Hewlett (the man who was kicked out of the church for marrying a Hawaiian woman) and the Hoxworth are the commercial, social, and political elite of Hawaii. Micah Hale leads the movement to have the United States annex Hawaii and serves as the first governor of the Territory of Hawaii.

    The descendants of these families continue to build their businsses and develop the islands. In an ironic twist, the families, refusing to marry Hawaiians or Chinese, intermarry. Eventually cousins marry cousins - the very practices Abner Hale condemned from his puplit. You eventually get characters named: Whipple Hoxworth; Hoxworth Hale; Hewlett Janders; Bromley Hoxworth.

    Finally, at the end of the novel the rich, post-WW II descendants of the missionaries talk about their "distinguished ancestors." Their descriptions and interpretation of events, differs from what it portrayed in the earlier chapters.
  • From the day Captain Cook arrived on those beautiful islands, Hawaii like Poland was cursed because of geography. Poland situated between two gigantic European powers just became a pawn in the eternal military and diplomatic chess game.

    Hawaii located where it is between North America and the Orient, when sea travel improved it was only a matter of time before the big powers came a-callin'. And they came from both directions. Not shown in the time frame this film covers, but soon after, waves of Japanese and Chinese immigrants landed on the shore. Hawaii was coveted by all and America got it.

    Max Von Sydow plays a young New England minister out to bring the gospel to the heathen as he sees them and has been taught to see them. His church won't send him out to the south seas without a wife, lest he be tempted by sins of the flesh, so on a short acquaintance he marries Julie Andrews. She in turn has been home pining away for whaling captain Richard Harris. When Von Sydow and Andrews get to Hawaii over the course of their story Harris would reappear.

    Naturally its quite a culture shock for the New Englanders when they get to Hawaii. The film's story covers about a quarter of a century of Hawaiian history and the history of the changing attitudes of Andrews and Von Sydow.

    James Michener's original novel was of War and Peace duration and I suppose the final script was as best they could get it and cover what he was trying to convey. Despite the obvious racist feelings that Von Sydow has, he's a basically decent man who does do some positive good.

    His problem is that everything with him has to be filtered through the Bible. There's a lot of incest going on in Hawaii when he lands there. Reason being is that these are islands with a limited number of mating partners. Now incest is bad as we know because it does eventually weaken the gene pool. But Von Sydow hardly takes a scientific approach, how could he, he doesn't know it, he hasn't been taught it.

    Julie Andrews is a far cry from the perky Mary Poppins. She develops quite an attachment to Hawaii and its people and her approach with them is fundamentally different than her husband's. It's not a bad performance.

    Richard Harris is the lusty whaling captain of Andrews previous affections. I tend to think his part might have been edited down. In a recent biography of Harris, it was stated he and Andrews did not get along at all on the set. Harris in those days was a whole lot like the characters he played like this one in Hawaii.

    Of course when you've got Hawaii as a subject for a camera, the photography could not be anything but gorgeous.

    Hawaii covers a period not well known to most Americans except Hawaiians. And indeed they are Americans and have been since 1959. I think people could learn something from this film even with the script flaws.
  • Bumpy, overlong drama does have magnetic sequences that stay with you. New England reverend (Max von Sydow, who never elicits our interest or compassion) sails to the Hawaiian islands with his wife in 1820 to introduce the natives to Christianity. Soapy plot taken from James A. Michener's book tries to cram too many years into 170 minutes of screen-time. The task of adapting the mammoth bestseller was probably a bad idea right from the start, and the picture is certainly a botch, but I did enjoy Julie Andrews as von Sydow's wife and the early scenes have atmosphere and tension. But Max von Sydow is a real problem: he's so overly-pious he's pathetic, which is probably not the effect hoped for. Look fast for real-life Hawaiian resident Bette Midler on the Eastern ship as it arrives to the island. **1/2 from ****
  • The movie was absolutely perfect in every way. The key to its power is that all viewers SHOULD have read the book at least once....ideally more than once, before seeing the movie. So many of the characters and story lines are much easier to comprehend and appreciate if one has read the book before even attempting to enjoy the richness and completeness of the epic story that Michner wrote, as it appears on the screen The book was glorious and fully half of it was not in the movie. As a result, many incidents that were shown in the movie were confusing because the book explained them in Michner's classic detailed style which ultimately created the outline that helped the story flow. Forget any misguided claims that the book was about dictatorship, etc. and READ THE BOOK.....only then will you understand that in the final analysis it simply is the story of a humble as well as stubborn and proud but frequently lonely and sad New England Christian Pastor's life and how he tried to do his best for the people that he touched and came to love, as he walked through that life with Jesus and God directing him. The ending of the movie was very touching and meaningful......those that read the book know why and understand. By the way, I have never heard a more thrilling and beautiful opening orchestral piece in any movie. I was fortunate enough to hear that song sung at one of Don Ho's shows many years ago.....the words of the song are as equally haunting and beautiful as the music when they speak not of the inhabitants of the island and their love for that paradise, but rather it is a song of the love the island of Hawaii has for the people who inhabit one of God's true Heavenly creations......the opening line of the song goes, "I am your island I wish you love....". See the movie again and revel in it's greatness and if you are really interested in enjoying the entire Mitchner experience please READ THE BOOK at least once before you attempt to do so. ALOHA!
  • i lived in hawaii for two years, and as a part of my standard elementary school curriculum, hawaiian history as taught by actual kapunas was always interesting. i didn't see "hawaii" until about ten years after living there. based on everything i was told while i was there, "hawaii" accurately describes the decimation of islands' tribal system by the onslaught of forced christianity.

    if you're "offended as a christian" at this movie, you might want to question the virtues of selling or otherwise pushing a mythology on a society that's already had one for ages. the story of "hawaii" was never intended to be "anti-christian", or "politically correct" anymore than "jay and silent bob" was meant to be politically correct. not to be too glib, but one of the main points, especially with the character hale, is that people should have better priorities about themselves, such as mastering and resolving their own lives, sooner than worrying over, or assuming responsiblity for other people's dogmatic inclinations. this particular point has been made in countless stories since the beginning, but people always miss it because they're too busy doing their best to take the statements as personal attacks, whether against their religions, their lifestyles, or even in these inane days, the color of their socks.

    if you're secure in your beliefs as a christian, you should have no reason to be offended as a christian at this or any other story. yes, this story states point blank that christian missionaries did their best to destroy hawaii's native beliefs, traditions, et cetera; and yes, it happened. it's also an accurate history-based depiction of events neither any of you nor i are held responsible. there's nothing that demands a christian viewer needs to have any particular "identity" with hale, or any other figure like him. if you were catholic, would you automatically identify with tomas de torquemada while watching "the pit and the pendulum"? the purpose of these characters is not only to recount history, but also to teach people what not to do, how not to do it, and to some extent, who not to be.

    if, as christians, you should come away from this story with only one thought, it should be, "wow, that was unfortunate. i hope something like that doesn't happen again."
  • This was another under-appreciated epic from United Artists in the year 1966 (the other was "Khartoum"). Taken from the center section (and the longest section) of James Michener's famous book, "Hawaii" is actually a rather intimate, incredibly tragic story despite its claim to "epic" scale. The performances are excellent, especially Max von Sydow as Abner, the stubborn, unyielding missionary. Special mention has to be made of Jocelyne LaGarde as Queen Malama. A woman who never acted before, Jocelyne gives a wonderful performance and will forever remain in your mind as the symbol of Hawaiian heart and warmth. The talent behind the camera is considerable: George Roy Hill as director, Russell Metty as cinematographer, and Elmer Bernstein as composer. (I do sometimes wonder if this film was planned to be a Cinerama presentation. Many of the scene setups and photographic tricks seem to be designed with that in mind.) Despite the length and the epic intentions, prepare yourself for an intimate film with an emotional impact not found in many films.
  • Excellent performance by Max Von Sydow as the self-righteous missionary with a narrow vision of redemption and worship. This movie is almost as infuriating as Michenor's novel. You will not believe the horrible changes wrought upon these beautiful natives done with the best intentions. Sad and lovely film.
  • From choice of cast to quality of production, this powerful story depicts human beings, of radically different cultures, in all our weakness and all of our soaring nobility. We truly must accept the good with the bad.

    Even if you hate aspects of history, it doesn't matter. This motion picture is great theater. Humanity is put on display by gifted actors under gifted direction. The script strikes home because it is so spare and poetic.

    It is a pity that of the cast members, Jocelyn LaGarde, who is the perfect alii nui--Queen of the Hawaiians--gets such a skimpy bio. Under her name, all we get is that she'd been six feet in height. What a natural actress! What an open smile! What powerful yet benign reality!

    Julie Andrews and Max von Sydow stay deep in their characters. The tragedy of cultures' colliding never ends. On a personal level, we get that eternal conflict again, between the classically female value of compassion and the male value of standards--you must earn your father's love.

    What is special must be preserved. Nationhood must live. There is much grist for thought in this sweeping drama.
  • James A. Michener's mammoth novel, "Hawaii," is the subject of this suitably mammoth film, one with a lot to recommend it. Julie Andrews proves that she can handle a dramatic role as well or better than musical roles. Her Jerusha Bromley Hale captures our sympathy the minute she comes on screen and sustains it for the rest of the film. Likewise, Jocelyn LaGarde, a real-life Tahitian princess with no previous acting experience, gives an equally good performance as Alii Nui Ruth Malama Konakoa, for which she was justifiably nominated for an Oscar. There are also good supporting performances from Carroll O'Connor and Gene Hackman, both just a few years away from stardom when this picture was made. Russell Harlan's cameras capture the islands at their most beautiful, and Elmer Bernstein's haunting, evocative score is one of his best.

    The one fatal flaw in all this is the actor playing the central male character, Reverend Abner Hale. While Max von Sydow was always good in the great Ingmar Bergman films ("The Seventh Seal"), in most of his English-language films, with the sole exception of "The Exorcist," he always came off as something of a well-dressed stiff. It's an image he upholds here. Perhaps it's the fact that he's working in a language not his own, perhaps it's just the hopeless nature of the lines he's saddled with, but his is an Abner Hale who could transform the staunchest Christian into a Druid. He, quite simply, generates no sympathy. Plus, as many of the best clergymen seem to know, you can win more converts by stressing the kind, loving qualities of Jesus than by belching out fire and brimstone. It seems to me that, for Andrews's character, choosing between this mannered stiff and Richard Harris's vigorous sea captain shouldn't have been much of a choice at all.

    But this shouldn't drive you away from "Hawaii." For all the good points I mentioned, it's definitely worth seeing at least once.
  • I watched Hawaii to see Max Von Sydow. I was surprised to see that he seemed as miscast in Hawaii as Gregory Peck was in Moby Dick.

    Yet it seems an absurdity to have a 'miscast', because a good actor should be able to play any part. I guess it wasn't truly a 'miscast' but more of a 'why the heck did Sydow take that part?!".

    Sydow's pedigree is beyond the scripted Abner Hale. The part of Hale was shallow in its overbearing nature, lazy in its development, basely barking unrealistic condemnations, and lacking any human substance---and in effect, overplayed. Sydow had fewer than 10 "human" lines in the entire film, leaving viewers to listen to elementary prattle. Abner Hale had the potential to be a very powerful character. The writers simply failed to provide dialog with depth.

    Comparing Hawaii to Capote where the viewer is allowed to freely dislike Truman Capote because of his nature, the words spoken by Hoffman were believable giving depth to his character and grounds for the viewer's emotion. That depth was never achieved in Hawaii, offering instead preposterously hollow, ridiculously vacant lines. Directing Sydow to play Hale in an exaggerated fashion only made it worse. His religious fanaticism was not buy-able; he appeared more of a lunatic.

    Having seen Sydow's acting in numerous works, he has proved capable should he be given something to work with. But the script is dull, reads like a dime-store children's novel, and in effect lent nothing to play.

    Julie Andrews stayed in the shadows the entire film, suggesting that was also her role in the church/relationship, but she was the only character that had any depth. Her lines were few but solid and she had a believable countenance.

    The Hawaiian characters were written stereotypically, speaking w/ broken English but apparently understanding all of Hale's embellished sophisticated condemnations. The Queen seemed jovial and bossy; she was the most natural of the Hawaiians on camera, earning LaGarde the only acting award for the movie. The rest of the Hawaiian actors (both speaking and extras) seemed stiff and comparably makes Keanu Reeves look like a Larry Olivier.

    I can appreciate the attempts to keep the natives natural (and by default, topless) but because the movie lacked substance not provided by the script, the semi-nude natives are reduced to gratuitous fodder. It's as if the producers knew the movie was a stink-bomb and put a lot of breasts on camera to distract the viewer from the stench.

    The cinematography of Hawaii was very basic and this movie was one of the last of Russell Harlan's career. Though the movie is credited as being filmed in Hawaii, most often the scenes looked like they were shot on sets. Interior ship scenes were done cleverly and the editing was tight. The musical score was sterling. Though I have enjoyed George Hill's later directorial efforts, I believe that problems with the script and loss of the original director resulting from such problems left Hill with less to work with than what he should have had. Comparably, Val Lewton's films often have better screenplays and believable characters, tighter shooting schedules, lack of lush locations, and they are done on inconceivably low budgets.

    As for the religious theme and the resulting troubles the Hawaiians ensued as a result, the theme is interesting and worthy of exploration. I do understand the nature of the missionaries giving up their lives and going away possibly never to see their families again, as my father was a minister. I understand the fanaticism implied by Hale's character, as well as his close-mindedness to the concept of God being not only a vengeful God but also one of love, patience and understanding. But my understanding of the concepts of the movie do not excuse the fact that it was very poorly written.

    I, for one, do not believe that I should have to read the book to make allowances for a poorly made movie. The movie should be strong enough to stand on its own. It isn't necessary for one to read Gone With The Wind to understand why Scarlett will never go hungry again, nor any of her folk.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Outstanding version of the James Michener novel.

    There is a monumental non-Oscar nominated performance by Max Von Sydow as a minister, who brings his wife (Julie Andrews) Jerusha Bromley to Hawaii in an attempt to convert the natives there.

    This is a story of social mores. Cold and seemingly uncaring to the needs of the people, Von Sydow, as Abner, etched an unforgettable character. He comes to Hawaii hell-bent on converting the natives. He doesn't understand or refuses to understand their customs and traditions as he tries to impose Christianity on them. He is quick to condemn cultural traditions in his never ending devotion to the Lord.

    Julie Andrews is wonderful as Jerusha, his long-suffering wife. She comes to realize that the goodness of people counts more than the religious life itself.

    The irony in the movie is that the church, that institution that Von Sydow would fight for, literally turns its back on him at film's end.

    Jocelyne LaGarde, as the queen, was nominated for best supporting actress. Firm in her beliefs, but unwilling to accept cultural changes, her performance was simplistic but truly memorable and believable.

    A great film.
  • Turgid, overlong epic has a story with possibilities-organized religion's arrogant assumption that what it believes is right even if it destroys a civilization. While it conveys that in many ways something is ultimately missing from the overall film that keeps the viewer at a distance making it less involving then it needs to be. Von Sydow is a fine actor but his Reverend Hale is such a pompous, small minded autocrat that spending over 2 1/2 hours with him is a trial. Julie Andrews is wasted, surely they could have found a way for her to sing more, although she does have one good scene near the end. The location filming is breath taking but that only will carry a film so far and this doesn't have enough else to make it worth seeking out.
  • This is an epic, it was meant to be an epic, and to me it still encompasses an epic. It is a story of, in my view, dictatorship. A harsh word to some I am sure, but, that is what it is. The missionary is the dictator, and what he dictates is his belief on others. Some call it brain-washing other's call it the correct way of living.

    One way of living towards a different way of living. To say one is the incorrect way is not correct. The 'Christian' way of living is the 'correct' way of living for the Christian - the 'Hawaiin way of life is the 'correct' way of living for the Hawaiin.

    I have not known any one religion that tried or have succeeded in forcing their beliefs on others, may be the Romans and/or Greeks (I think basically their belief structures at the time were of the same). That is the one doctrine that Christianity is about: converting. But, then as even now, they do it in a crude and callous manner. They do not let those they wish to convert - choose. They force their ideals upon others for the 'betterment' of 'their' religion and beliefs. Christians only believe that their religion is supreme and all other religions and God's must be false, and they succeed in their ego's.

    This picture touches such matters. It shows from both sides. It shows how the Christians conquer their objective and how the Hawaiin's react to such conquering.

    There is no 'good' in this epic yet at the same moment there is no 'bad'. It is just what it is - a story to be told.

    The actors play well in their roles, Julie Andrews acts the same in my opinion as all the rest of the movies she has been in. Gene Hackman I think was good and Max Von Sydow who has played various roles (my favorite being the lawyer in Snow Falling On Cedars - and the worst being in Flash Gordon) plays this role to ease and temperment.

    Tho, I do not agree with some aspects, as I am sure others do not as well as I have read in previous comments, this movie is well made and well put.

    There is a story and the story is told.

    Hawaii then, and Hawaii now - is it for the betterment? Or is it just a part of life where some nations conquer, some nations claim things that are not theirs for the betterment of their beliefs and the betterment of human kind?

  • Warning: Spoilers
    Okay, maybe I just need to see this movie again, but I hated it. SPOILERS AHEAD: I know it's part of the story, but why did Julie have to die? And why couldn't she have gone with the sea captain? I was so preoccupied with that aspect of the story that the rest was lost on me. I wanted to wring Abner Hale's neck all throughout the film, his and Jerusha's parents. (I hope people don't use this movie as the basis of all missionaries, because there are some missionaries in the world today who do wonderful things for the people they minister to.) I really just wish it could have been shorter-three hours of being driven crazy by the main character of a movie is just too much. I like movies that draw an emotional response, but really. I'm sure the book was better (haven't read it yet, but it has been highly recommended) and maybe the movie will be better if I watch it again...if I can bring myself to do it, that is.
  • preppy-319 February 2005
    Movie based on part of James Michener's massive novel.

    In the 1860s Father Hale (Max von Sydow) and his wife Jerusha (Julie Andrews) go to Hawaii to bring religion to the Hawaiian people. This movie follows their lives through about 20 years and involves rape, disease, death and incest (pretty taboo for 1966).

    LONG, lumbering "epic". It's 3 hours but felt more like 30 hours! The pace is very slow and von Sydow's character is very annoying. He's always preaching and von Sydow overacts to an embarrassing degree. More than once I wanted to take his Bible and hit him over the head with it. Andrews is a wonderful actress--but not here. She seems to be constrained by her role and very muted.

    The film has some good things about it. It is well-directed on location in Hawaii with beautiful cinematography. The score is very good too--it matches the images perfectly. And it's fun to see Carroll O'Connor and Gene Hackman in early roles. Also there's a superb performance by Jocelyn LaGarde (Oscar-nominated) as the island ruler. Also von Sydow's two real life sons play his sons in this movie! I watched to the end because I was interested in some of the characters and the scenery was gorgeous--but I was mostly bored by the slow pace and von Sydow's histrionics. I can only give this a 6.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Well, as far as the "unChristian" debate; it's pointless. History is history. Exploiting people and land is an activity of all religions (except the ones that emphasize spirit and not Buddism). So, Hawaii depicts the essence of what happened in Hawaii, like it or not.

    My question is, why on earth did they cast Julie Andrews to play Jerusala? I know she was popular at the time, but was completely inappropriate for the part, beginning with the English accent. She is a lightweight actress, as sexually appealing as a "very efficient dietitian" (as one reviewer of another film described her). That whaler dude would hardly have pined across time and oceans to win her hand (or most certainly anything else).

    I don't have much problem with Max; then again, I haven't seen him in anything else. He appeared to be a wooden actor performing as a wooden man. Unlike Jerusala, I didn't keep expecting him to grab an umbrella, break out in song and skip off a cliff. Believe me, I wish she had.

    The Hawaiian cast was excellent. I can't help but feel their talents were wasted, as was the culture they represented in the new order brought by Whites. Those actors made the tale much more believable.

    Of course the photography was incredible. Hawaii is incredible. The book was much better, as is always the case in movies, but in my opinion, far too long. Michner liked to hear himself write.

    That's about it. This is good escapist stuff, but badly miscast. Alas, they should have learned from My Fair Lady and picked Audrey Hepburn. That would have also been miscasting, but she didn't have the off screen persona that Andrews reportedly has- the ability to cuss like one of those whalers.

    And, I am sure the lovely Ms. Hepburn, being a truly fine actress, would have made us regret her character's passing. Instead, when that sad moment came (or, actually, didn't come- they skipped over that part, probably because it didn't fit either Julie's image or acting ability; they showed her looking kinda tired, then cut to her tombstone), anyway, when I caught on to that quick transition, I breathed my own simple little prayer; "Thank God."
  • This movie is unwatchable. The characters are unsympathetic and boring. I found its depiction of Hawaiian history...well, "interesting" would be the charitable way to put it, I suppose. If you like to watch movies for the pretty pictures, this will probably be right up your alley. There are certainly pretty pictures in abundance. However, if you want something more than insufferable boors (the haoles) and cartoonish stereotypes (the Hawaiians), if you want a movie that has a plot that won't make you fall asleep, go somewhere else.

    "We must convert these simple folk" and "I don't want these heathens touching my wife" got real old real fast.

    For a much better movie about Hawaii, check out "Picture Bride". It's about a later period, but very well made, effective, and affecting. "Hawaii", the movie, is not worth wasting three hours of your life.
  • jpintar20 June 2005
    Warning: Spoilers
    This movie is an expensive and overlong would be epic that was made in the 1960s. What holds this movie back is the annoying character Max von Sydow plays. This character is so self righteous and arrogant that a little of him goes a long way. Von Sydow plays this one note character like he doesn't change over the years. You have to agree with the scene when he is thrown overboard and the ship captain hopes the shark eats him!!!! I wanted the shark to eat him too. Julie Andrews is good and the woman who plays the head of the Hawaiians are very good and put von Sydow's character in his place at times. However, this movie shows how one character can undermine an entire movie. This is a movie that should have been better by telling the interesting story of converting Hawaiians into Christianity. But when you find the lead character so unwatchable, it undermines the entire story.
  • HAWAII IS AN EPIC IN THE GREAT TRADITION OF MOVIE MAKING IN THE PAST. Yes, it is long like the film epic "Dr. Zhivago" or "War and Peace" and although I loved the previous two films,"Hawaii" was much more exciting. The cast both Hawaiian and non-Hawaiian was excellent and Von Sydow was at the top of his form. I believe that he is one of the leading actors of our time. Jocelyn LaGarde's performance was noticeable enough to earn an academy award nomination, and this was her first time acting! The performances of the late Richard Harris was memorable as was the wonderful job of Julie Andrews (almost without singing). The film's music score penned by the late Elmer Bernstein is breathtaking and I believe the theme music became the state song. The film deals with intolerance, culture-clash, racism, and fanaticism that in the tragic end finally realizes the meaning of love and social concern in a new time of imperialism and land stealing by the American newcomers to Hawaii. The missionaries who came to Hawaii begin to deviate from their mission statement and begin to prey upon the inhabitants; Rev. Hale realizes the real meaning of his calling at the end of terrible loss and tragedy. All of this occurs against a backdrop of riots and natural disasters. It is a travesty that this film was cut from its original length for DVD and also puzzling since the film was released full length on VHS and is shown complete on Turner Classic movies to the delight of almost everyone I know.I hope MGM reconsiders it's mistake and re-releases the full uncut version.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    The film begins in 1819. When we first hear about Jerusha (Julie Andrews), she is a "Christian girl of 22." Later, her tombstone (the spoiler in this message) reads: "1799 - 1834". Do the math: she must have been 19 or 20 in 1819.

    This film is an amazing hodgepodge of sometimes good writing and often bad acting. The pre-credit sequence, a narration of how people first came to Hawaii 800 or so years ("30 generations") before, is quite poetic and visually stunning. But much of the acting is stiff and passion-less. (Do look for Carroll O'Connor -– very good in a small part at the beginning as Jerusha's father.) The film uses one fascinating (and very effective) device: some scenes end with the first few lines of dialog of the next scene coming up "early", as a way of propelling the film forward. Considering how avant garde this is, it's surprising this has not been used in any other mainstream films -- at least none that I know of. (I recently purchased the DVD because I was interested in seeing the film with captions (CC). It is missing about 15-20 minutes, most of it from the ocean voyage towards the beginning of the film. No special features to speak of.)
  • Warning: Spoilers
    An epic that is largely character driven and that actually works to its detriment. Minister Max von Sydow and his New Englander wife Julie Andrews head for mission work in Hawaii and face storms at sea, fires, disease and some very sexually free natives. Director George Roy Hill assembles a staid adaption of the James A. Michener novel and though the production values are all first rate, the script stagnates to the point of being sleep inducing when it should be sweeping. The acting is good, though there is probably one too many scenes of von Sydow in full on fire & brimstone mode. He's really annoying. Andrews is very restrained, so much so that it's difficult to believe she would have stayed with such a block headed husband. Richard Harris, Gene Hackman and George Rose are in it too. Jocelyne LaGarde, an Oscar nominee for her only film appearance, steals a number of scenes as the very bossy Malama Kanakoa.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Breaking out of the mold of singing nannies, Julie Andrews plays a Bostonian socialite who marries a missionary (Max Von Sydow) and heads to the wilds of Hawaii where her husband works on converting the natives to Christianity. A ship's captain (Richard Harris) sets his sights on the lovely but fragile Andrews which tests the sanctity of marriage. Obsessed with converting what he believes to be a sinful life of the very sexual natives, Von Sydow neglects his wife, leading to tragedy and a climactic confrontation between Von Sydow and Harris. The fact that Harris would go on to play King Arthur in the film version of "Camelot" while Andrews was unable to reprise her role as Guenevere makes this an interesting pairing during this time.

    Beautiful to look at and superbly acted, this takes James Michener beyond the tales of the South Pacific and Bali Hai to what would later become America's 50th State. Andrews totally underplays her role here after flamboyantly playing Mary Poppins and Maria Von Trapp, so this is a nice change of pace for her. Von Sydow is a bit hammy in spots, but if you consider the type of character he is playing, that is not entirely out of place. The acting honors go to Jocelyn La Garde, the Hawaiian born native chosen to play the last Queen. Speaking her few English language lines phonetically, the hefty La Garde is lovable, touching and fierce. And yes, that is Carroll O'Connor, the future Archie Bunker here, playing Andrews' father.

    This also contains one of the most beautiful music scores (by Elmer Bernstein) to grace an epic film of the 1960's, one you'll not soon forget. While some of the historical references have been questioned in regards to their accuracy, the film paints a realistic portrayal of the hardships faced by mainland Americans as they face the elements of a land they can never quite understand. This is the type of film that should be given occasional big screen re-releases so today's audiences can see how epics used to be made without resulting in headaches due to overpowering sound and computer generated effects.
  • I first noticed what were definitely Polynesian actors on the cover of the DVD and considering it was a movie based on a subject matter I'm always interested in(when Europeans interfere with Native peoples,in particular Polynesians since I am one,and the effects the clash of cultures can have).I was a little unsure of the movie at first because I was thinking it was gonna be real preachy but I found it to be an awesome film,even it it did have some cuts(as I just read another post here).I am very impressed with the acting from all the cast and especially the performances given from Keoki and especially Ali'i Nui.She did a really good job especially considering this was her first and only movie.I couldn't see a movie like this being made today(esp since there wouldn't nearly be as many real Hawaiians available for extras or actors) and in my opinion there was a good balance of many perosectives in this film.It can get your mind racing.I myself have part Native Hawaiian blood and am always looking to find out more about my culture.I hope that people re-discovering or discovering this movie for the first time realize the struggles of Native Hawaiian people and trying to keep and in some cases find their own identity after being taken over by outside forces that still exist to this day.These problems are nothing new and at the same time have trouble getting old.I hope people will come away wanting to know a little more about the US' 50th "state" and find that it is more than a great tourist destination and that it is not just some place on a postcard.Well thats all and I enjoyed the acting,direction,dedication and even the great shots that were put into this film.Hawaiian's are still a dying race(fewer aborignal Hawaiians now) but there are many proud Natives(in the blood) and local Hawaiians(in spirit) that are still fighting to hold onto the culture and some of our traditions.My hats off to these people.

  • This sprawling epic-length story is only a piece of Michener's book, but it's a grand slice nevertheless. Dalton Trumbo's literate script is ably delivered by a top-notch cast, including an astounding debut performance by non-actress Jocelyn La Garde as Malama. All the elements for a large-scale historical adventure are here, including a magnificent Elmer Bernstein score, staggering location cinematography and high-style dramatics by a prestigious cast. That all the production logistics come together this nicely is a tribute to the late Mr. Hill, give or take all the ridiculous rhetoric over the presentation of the Missionary position in this ultimately satisfying story. Big and beautiful.
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