Hawaii (1966) C
United Artists (Mirisch Corporation)
The estimable Swedish actor Max Von Sydow plays a stern missionary in “Hawaii” a big-budget, bloated, overlong, and vastly disappointing pseudo-spiritual historical epic.
Fred Zinnemann was the original director, but he was replaced by George Roy Hill before shooting began. Moreover, the role intended for Charlton Heston was assigned to Richard Harris; Heston in the 1970 sequel, “The Hawaiians.”
It took seven years from the book to screen, and a budget of $15 million to make the picture. Based on James A. Michener’s best-selling novel, which spanned several centuries, the film version focuses only on two decades, froms 1820 to 1841. However, Michener’s message, that the virginal sanctity of the Hawaiian islands was shattered by the incursion of the white man, remains intact.
Von Sydow plays Abner Hale, an imperious minister who settles in Hawaii with his wife, Jerusha Bromley Hale (Julie Andrews). Abner expects the islanders, who he pereceives as wild aliens, to adapt to him. In contrast, his wife goes out of her way to understand their new neighbors. She eventually finds comfort in the arms of her former lover, Rafer Hoxworth (Richard Harris).
Despite the lush location footage, spectacular rituals and ceremonies and a strikingly outsized typhoon, the scene most filmgoers remember is Julie Andrews’ childbirth sequence.
George Roy Hill went on to direct such smash hits and Oscar winners as “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” and “The Sting,” before retiring from the industry to teach drama at Yale.
There are at least two versions of “Hawaii” in terms of running time. The shorter version (151 minutes) is the one shown on TV.
You can spot Gene Hackman in a small role and Bette Midler as a ship passenger.
Oscar Nominations: 7
Supporting Actress: Jocelyn LaGarde
Cinematography (color): Russell Harlan
Sound: Gordon E. Sawyer
Song: “My Wishing Doll,” music by Elmer Bernstein, lyrics by Mack David
Original Score: Elmer Bernstein
Costume design (color): Dorothy Jeakins
Special Visual Effects: Linwood G. Dunn
Oscar Awards: None
In 1966, “Man for All Season” won the Best Picture as well as other Oscars, such as Cinematography for Ted Moore and Costumes for Elizabeth Haffenden and Joan Bridge.
The other nominees were the British comedy “Alfie,” the American comedy, “The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming,” the War drama “The Sand Pebbles,” and “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” the screen adaptation of Edward Albee’s stage play (directed by first-timer Mike Nichols).
The winner of the Supporting Actress Oscar was Sandy Dennis for “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”
The Sound Oscar went to “Grand Prix,” and the Song and Scoring to “Born Free.” “Fantastic Voyage” won the Special Effects Award.
Julie Andrews as Jerusha Bromley
Max von Sydow as Abner Hale
Richard Harris as Rafer Hoxworth
Carroll O’Connor as Charles Bromley
Elizabeth Cole as Abigail Bromley
Diane Sherry as Charity Bromley
Gene Hackman as Rev. John Whipple
Heather Menzies as Mercy Bromley
Torin Thatcher as Rev. Thorn
John Cullum as Rev. Immanuel Quigley
Jocelyne LaGarde as Queen Malama
Bette Midler as Passenger
Running time: 186 Minutes (also 171 and 151 minutes).
Directed by: George Roy Hill
Written By: Dalton Trumbo and Daniel Taradash
Released October 10, 1966 Wide
DVD: April 12, 2005
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