Bird of Paradise (1951 film)

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This article is about the 1951 film. For the 1932 film, see Bird of Paradise (1932 film).
Bird of Paradise
Bird of paradise English Poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Delmer Daves
Produced by Delmer Daves
Screenplay by Delmer Daves
Based on the play 
by Richard Walton Tully
Starring Debra Paget
Louis Jourdan
Jeff Chandler
Music by Daniele Amfitheatrof
Cinematography Winton C. Hoch
Edited by James B. Clark
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release dates
  • March 14, 1951 (1951-03-14) (United States)
Running time
100 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Box office $1,650,000 (US rentals)[1]

Bird of Paradise is a 1951 drama film directed by Delmer Daves. It stars Debra Paget and Louis Jourdan.[2]


Andre Laurence (Jourdan) takes a trip to a Polynesian island with his college roommate Tenga (Chandler). He assumes the native life and marries his friend's sister, Kalua. An eruption of a volcano and the Kahuna, the island's shaman, decides that the volcano can be appeased with the sacrifice of Kalua.


O'ahu native Queenie Ventura (married name Dowsett), born 1930, half pure Hawaiian and half Portuguese, joined the cast as a featured dancer and the local lead actress.


The film was shot on location in Hawaii.[3]


Critical response[edit]

When the film was released, The New York Times film critic Bosley Crowther panned the film, writing, "There is certainly nothing original—or particularly blissful, we would say—about the romantic tumble here taken by a visiting white man for a beauteous native maid...Unfortunately, Delmer Daves, who directed and wrote the script, either didn't or wasn't permitted to pitch the whole film in this slyly kidding vein. And the consequence is a rambling mishmosh of South Sea romance and travesty, of solemn high-priesting and low clowning, of never-never spectacle and sport."[4]

On the other hand, the staff at Variety magazine gave the film a favorable review, writing, "Richard Walton Tully's old legit piece, Bird of Paradise, makes another trip to the screen in a refurbished version. Previous filming of the play was in 1932 and, while Delmer Daves' version deviates from the Tully form, the essentials of the drama are still there, plus a beautiful Technicolor camera job, haunting island music and the use of actual locales...Paget hits a high level in her performance as the Princess Kalua. She, as well as the other players give their characters considerable sincerity. Jourdan is an excellent choice as the island visitor, as is Chandler as the prince."[5]


  1. ^ 'The Top Box Office Hits of 1951', Variety, January 2, 1952
  2. ^ Bird of Paradise at the TCM Movie Database
  3. ^ Polynesian Idyl: Hawaiians, History, Volcanoes and Flora Aid in Filming 'Bird of Paradise' Hot Work Native Tunes – By Grady Jhnson. New York Times (1923–Current file) [New York, N.Y] 20 Aug 1950: 83.
  4. ^ Crowther, Bosley. The New York Times, film review, March 15, 1951. Last accessed: February 10, 2011.
  5. ^ Variety. Film review, March 14, 1951. Last accessed: February 13, 2011.

External links[edit]