Paradise Island (1930) Poster

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Fun Little "B" Picture, Hear Kenneth Harlan Sing!
overseer-329 November 2003
I enjoyed this film, basically because I got to hear its three stars talk for the first time. I had only seen their silent pictures, so this was a treat. Kenneth Harlan sings two choruses in this film, and Marceline Day had the most gorgeous voice; why wasn't she used more in talkies? Gladden James sounded just like I thought he would.

The plot is predictable: cultured girl comes to a south sea island to marry her fiancee, but he has become a drunk, so she falls for a local sailor who rescues her from the hard life on the island. But it has some funny bits and some nice romantic chemistry between Ken and Marceline, so definitely not a waste of time. Too short though; they could have filled out the plot more.
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Good fun!
JohnHowardReid13 May 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Highly respected photographer Bert Glennon tried his hand at just about everything Hollywood had going. Here we find him attempting to direct a South Seas Island saga which seems to have been lifted (so far as plot, characters and settings go) straight out of a ten cents paperback. As if the ridiculous plot were not enough to contend with, Glennon was also stuck with Paul Hurst in a major role. Just imagine Hurst at his worst and multiply by ten. With one exception which I won't mention as the role is so small, the other players are not too bad. Marceline Day is cute enough to engage my sympathy (even though her character seems to be rather dense in the head). Kenneth Harlan as the singing hero (?) is okay, buy it's all-stops- out villain Tom Santschi who takes the full acting honors, closely followed by Betty Boyd as a super-sexy island femme fatale. Betty never got the breaks she deserved in her intermittent movie career. Needless to say, Paradise Island is worth seeing just on Betty's account, so despite its ludicrous plot, dialogue and characters, I'm giving it a seven. And production values are surprisingly good by minor studio "B" standards. Available on a very good Alpha DVD.
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He's Got A Girl On Every Island, But Does He Have Marceline Day?
boblipton15 July 2019
Marceline Day comes into the tropical island to marry Gladden James, but he's been drinking heavily, not tending to the plantation and has lost half the deed to Tom Santschi. He promises to reform, and she says she'll marry him when he's made a success. Fortunately, piratical Kenneth Harlan is around whenever she needs a strong man.

It's one of those kitchen-sink movies of the era, with a musical number for Mr. Harlan and Miss Day, which means they're the leads. Marceline is quite lovely in this early talkie. Mr. Harlan is a likable rogue. If you're not familiar with his faded star, he reminds me of the better-remembered Preston Foster. Mr. James is balding, which pretty much puts him out of the running, and Santschi is a thorough scoundrel. With Paul Hurst, and a late credit for Betty Boyd as a tropical temptress.
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The film had MANY problems...yet, oddly, I enjoyed it.
MartinHafer30 September 2014
The film is set somewhere in the Pacific on some Polynesian Island. To demonstrate this, the filmmakers inserted lots of grainy old stock footage...and it really was obvious. Soon you see that a baddie named Mike Lutz has been cheating a dumbbell, Mr. Armstrong, out of his fortune. As for Armstrong, he's an alcoholic and a womanizer--which is not good because his fiancée, Miss Bradford (Marceline Day), is on her way to the island to marry him. When she arrives, evil Mike makes a play for her but the hero, Thorn (Kenneth Harlan) arrives to save the day--whisking her off to his plantation to stay. It's obvious that Thorn is smitten with Miss Bradford, but because he's the heroic type, he's quite the gentleman. In fact, he tries to help Armstrong throughout the film--even though Armstrong really is a hopeless jerk-face. Through the course of saving the Jerk-face, Thorn gets on evil Captain Lutz's bad side and Lutz plans on revenge. Can Thorn save the day or will Thorn steal everything...including Miss Bradford?

The film is a bit silly and in many ways it plays out like a Popeye cartoon- -with a bunch of sailor beating the crap out of each other. Think of Thorn as Popeye and Lutz as Bluto...and, perhaps, Armstrong as Wimpy...though instead of being addicted to burgers, he's addicted to booze and broads. And, of course, the skinny Miss Bradford is Olive. Additionally, there is a lot of singing--something you wouldn't expect in a South Seas adventure like this one! A few of the songs are completely ridiculous (such as the one Thorn sings with his crew as their ship comes in to port) and one actually was good (the one where he translates the Polynesian song into English), as Harlan had a beautiful voice. He wasn't exactly handsome and perhaps that is why he didn't go on to become a big star--though with a voice like that, I am still rather surprised.

Overall, the film has a lot of crappy stock footage, occasionally offensive stereotypes ('...all the locals are lazy'), a very simplistic plot, one of the DUMBEST sidekicks in movie history (Beauty is a 100% idiot) and some occasionally limp acting. But, it also has a likable leading man and, somehow, the film engaged my interest. Yes, I knew that there'd be a final big showdown between Thorn and Lutz...and I actually found myself caring! Worth seeing if your standards and expectations are both low.
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A Girl in Every Port
wes-connors3 June 2008
Silent film actor Kenneth Harlan (as Jim Thorne) takes the talking pictures plunge - he plays a South Sea skipper prowling for girls and pearls. On a sleepy small island filled with lazy natives, Mr. Harlan meets spunky white Marceline Day (as Ellen Bradford). Harlan is pleased to find the "white woman" he'd been seeking; but, Ms. Day reveals she has arrived to marry habitually inebriated Gladden James (as Roy Armstrong). Then, Day says she'll put off the wedding temporarily, until Mr. James sobers up. Of course, Harlan becomes interested in Day.

Although ultimately too dramatic to be one, "Paradise Island" plays like a mid-sixties Elvis Presley movie, due to its soundtrack and setting. Like Elvis, Harlan signs, fights, and romances. His best song is the twice performed "A Girl in Every Port"; with his "traditional" song a close second. Day sings one song. Neither player is very impressive in their "talking" role. Supporting star Tom Santschi (as smarmy Captain Lutze) takes the best performance honor; although, in this film, it doesn't count for much. Director Bert Glennon was, later on, successful in cinematography.

** Paradise Island (7/15/30) Bert Glennon ~ Kenneth Harlan, Marceline Day, Tom Santschi
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