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His Majesty O'Keefe (1954)

A Yankee sea captain has adventures in paradise trying to become an entrepreneur in Micronesia.

Directors:

Byron Haskin, Burt Lancaster (uncredited)

Writers:

Borden Chase (screenplay), James Hill (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Burt Lancaster ... Capt. David Dion O'Keefe / Narrator
Joan Rice ... Dalabo aki Dali
André Morell ... Alfred Tetins (as Andre Morell)
Abraham Sofaer ... Fatumak, Medicine Man
Archie Savage ... Boogulroo
Benson Fong ... Mr. Chou
Tessa Prendergast Tessa Prendergast ... Kakofel
Lloyd Berrell Lloyd Berrell ... Inifel
Charles Horvath ... Capt. Bully Hayes
Philip Ahn ... Sien Tang, Dentist
Guy Doleman ... Herr Weber
Grant Taylor ... Lt. Brenner
Alexander Archdale Alexander Archdale ... Bob Harris
Harvey Adams Harvey Adams ... Herr Friedlander
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Storyline

In 1870, Yankee sea captain O'Keefe finds himself stranded after a mutiny on the Micronesian island of Yap, where the financial potential of copra (dried cocoanut) excites him. But a German company already has a monopoly...and very low production because hard work is alien to dwellers in paradise. On a later voyage, between affairs with island maidens, O'Keefe struggles to find the key to the wealth of Yap. But before he can carve out the empire of his dreams, he must also contend with assorted villains... Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Adventure Beyond The Fabulous! Two Years In The Making! All Of It Actually Filmed In The Fiji Islands!


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

16 January 1954 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

East Meets West See more »

Filming Locations:

Viti Levu, Fiji See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,550,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The British print has a Robert Farnon score conducted by Louis Levy, re-scored in Hollywood by Dimitri Tiomkin. Both versions are occasionally screened on British television. See more »

Goofs

The longboat used for the German steamship of the Gadefreude Company, and the longboat used for the old Chinese Junk that O'keefe acquired in Hong Kong, appear to be exactly the same boat. It's hardly possible that the old Chinese Junk and the German steamship would have exactly matching longboats. See more »

Quotes

Capt. David O'Keefe: [waking up to see a gun being pointed at him] Why am I being killed?
Bob Harris: I'm an old sea hand, O'Keefe. I've taken women aboard ships myself.
Capt. David O'Keefe: You're wrong, Harris. I want to marry her.
Bob Harris: To save your life!
Capt. David O'Keefe: If that's what you think, you better pull the trigger!
Bob Harris: You do love her?
Capt. David O'Keefe: And I'll make her a good husband!
Bob Harris: [lowers his gun] Be good to her.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Night Patrol (1984) See more »

Soundtracks

Isa Lei
(uncredited)
Traditional
See more »

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User Reviews

Lancaster Does Copra
5 February 2011 | by dougdoepkeSee all my reviews

19th century freebooter O'Keefe (Lancaster) uses his wiles to set up copra trade in south seas despite native resistance and organized competition.

Lancaster was made for this kind of role. With his athletic frame, blinding grin, and iron jaw, he's a great adventurer. Later, he became a serious actor, but I always preferred the grinning swashbuckler ever up to some kind of daring-do, as he is here.

This is one of his lesser known action films and I'm not sure why. At times the shifting loyalties are hard to follow, so it's not the simple action narrative of good guys versus bad. Still, the story's based on fact, and I like the insight into how the Europeans try to turn the simple native economy into a commodity producing one (copra). In that regard, I really like the ending that seems surprisingly contemporary in its respectful politics. As a result, the story may be complex, but there's also considerable substance.

Meanwhile, I'm on my way to Yap to see if the green-eyed Dalabo (Rice) left any female offspring. Besides, the scenery there is spectacular, nicely captured by Warner's Technicolor department. Traditional Hollywood usually went to Catalina for its south seas background. Not here. Instead, Warner's popped for authentic Pacific locations-- probably to compete with newfangled TV. Then too, Lancaster's big, native ceremony is elaborately colorful and unusual, especially the costuming. At the same time, he gets to do some of his effortless acrobatics and come up grinning.

In my book, it all adds up to an entertaining package and well worth tuning in.


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