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His Majesty O'Keefe (1954)

His Majesty O'Keefe. Feature film. (1954, 91 mins) IMDB

...the splendour of technicolor...

S

et in the South Pacific (Fiji), the film is colourful and majestic. Just what you'd expect from a film shot in that location.

The film stars Burt Lancaster who plays a ship's captain. While sailing south from Hong Kong, his crew throws him overboard and he ends up on a small island complete with locals in grass skirts, bone necklaces and skin paint.

It's an obscure island with one German running a trading post. He's there to collect coconuts which are sold in Hong Kong--worth their weight in gold. It hasn't been going well for our trader. He needs the locals to harvest the coconuts and they are not motivated to do so. They aren't interested in money. They are interested in FEI--stones they collect from another island. It's part of their religious beliefs.

Enter Lancaster to change that. Get a new boat and crew from Hong Kong to carry all those coconuts back to Hong Kong. He gets the boat and he has to figure out a way to get the locals to harvest the coconuts. He does. He'll help with the FEI if they help him.

Lancaster is charming and driven and tough and cunning and all sorts of other characteristics you'd want in a leading man, but he seems entirely motivated by greed. Not something you want in your hero unless you want to document his downfall which is pretty much what happens by the end of the story, but he does get the girl and fall in love.

Posted 2009/04/11 at 19h37ET in Movie Commentary.

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