Saturday, May 21, 2016

Isle of Forgotten Sins aka Monsoon

Edgar G Ulmer, Hollywood CA 1943

Ulmer concocted the story for this picture when he learned that there were two hundred miniature palm trees left over from John Ford’s big budget adventure spectacle, the Hurricane, which he knew he’d be able to borrow.  It was just the way his constantly inventive mind worked.  John Carradine, Gale Sondergaard and Sidney Toler were the stars.  Carradine usually played villains and Toler was best known as Charlie Chan, so here they were cast against type.  As usual with Ulmer, the visual qualities of the film are far beyond what the budget and shooting schedule would lead one to expect.  I can’t help but wonder if this served as an inspiration for Jack Smith’s Polynesian film fantasies?  I know that Smith was a fervent admirer of Ulmer’s master, FW Murnau (especially of his South Seas Romance,Tabu, on which Ulmer was his main assistant,)  so I assume he knew and admired the latter’s great work as well.

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