2 MARCH 1929, Page 13

The Cinema

L.: WHITE SHADOWS IN THE SOUTH SEAS.---AT THE REG AL.] White : Shadows was taken in the Marquesas Islarubi in the South Seas. In this beautiful and romantic setting of lagoons and luxurious tropical vegetation no happier life can be imagined than that led by the natives before the coming of the white-man. Everyone seemed to have a place in' the sun! But with the pearl trader come disease, degradation, greed; and cruelty. A white doctor, left derelict on theie islands, amebas eyes-to see how the natives were being exploited, and because of his sympathy with them he is shanghaied on a drifting schooner. After enduring every kind of- hardship— hunger. thirst, and the terrors of a typhoon, the doctor even- tually finds himself on a virgin island. Here he is welcomed. as a white god, wins the chief's' daughter, Fayaway, and- settles down to an idyllic life as the chieftain, Matta Loa. There' seems to be no fly in the ointment, until one day. Matta' Loa, while watching some oyster shells being opened— Which Were used to make fish hoOks—seeg a native throw away a pearl. . Suddenly he remembers his: former sense of values' and sets about pearl-diving. He lights a fire on the top of a mountain to attract any passing ship to this unexploited land. His love of. Fayaway prevails, however, and he resists the temptation to introduce the joys of civilization. But the next day his old enemy, a pearl-trader, Sebastian, who has seen the fire -_on the mountain, lands with tempting bales of boldly designed cotton. In spite of Matta Loa's _entreaties, the natives-welcome these traders and the island's -happiness is at

an end. -

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer are to be congratulated on this the best they have made. It haa a serious prirpose behind it;- a courageous theme set in an exquisite setting, "a plot which is' not obvious from the 'first Shot, a -wealth of - natural detail,' characters of a certain subtlety, and magnificent examples of photography. Monte Blue as the doctor does•not overact his- part which indeed offers every opportunity_ for melodraina • Raquel-Torres is quite lovely as Fayaway ;- the natives_

in being just themselves. - - • - - I have never seen cleverer. or nioreheantiful photography than the shots of the natives diving for pearls. You see them swimming down tinder water to .the depths of the sea, their bodies appearing almost ethereal through the water, clutching oyster shells from rocks, getting caught by clams, or in the tentacles of octopuses, sending up bubbles to the surface, helping each other when in difficulties: In White Shadows there is a distinctly un-American element of realism blended with the romance usually associated with life in the South Pacific Islands. It is what is called a -" sound " picture—occasional significant sounds being synchronized, but is none the less a most successful film. - - - - CELIA StmesoN.