AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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Rainbow Island
Director: Ralph Murphy (Dir)
Release Date:   1944
Premiere Information:   New York opening: 25 Oct 1944
Production Date:   4 Oct--late Nov 1943
Duration (in mins):   93 or 97-98
Duration (in feet):   8,701
Duration (in reels):   10
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Cast:   Dorothy Lamour (Lona)  
    Eddie Bracken (Toby Smith)  
    Gil Lamb (Pete Jenkins)  
    Barry Sullivan (Ken Masters)  
    Forrest Orr (Dr. Curtis)  
    Anne Revere (Queen Okalana)  
    Reed Hadley (High Priest Kahuna)  
    Marc Lawrence (Alcoa)  
    Olga San Juan (Miki)  
    Adia Kuznetzoff (Executioner)  
    Elena Verdugo (Moana)  
    George Urchell (Executioner's helper)  
    Robert Martinez (Executioner's helper)  
    Hannah Kaapa (Priestess)  
    Danny Stewart (Chanter)  
    The Hopkins Twins (Specialty swimmers)  
    Stanley Price (Tonto)  
    Aggie Auld (Native woman)  
    Renee Dupuis (Native woman)  
    Iris Lancaster (Native woman)  
    Lena Belle (Native woman)  
    Virginia Lucas (Native woman)  
    Audrey Young (Native woman)  
    Louise LaPlanche (Native woman)  
    Pua Kealoha (Native man)  
    Alex Havier (Native man)  
    Dan Seymour (Fat Native man)  
    Theodore "Pete" Rand (Queen's guard)  
    Satini Puailoa (Queen's guard)  
    Robert St. Angelo (Queen's guard)  
    Rod Redwing (Queen's guard)  
    Baudelio Alva (Queen's guard)  
    Rudy Masson (Queen's guard)  
    Alexander McSweyn (Queen's guard)  
    Alex Montoya (Queen's guard)  
    Leigh Whitney (Lona's companion)  
    Nonny Parsons (Lona's companion)  
    Yvonne De Carlo (Lona's companion)  
    Noel Neill (Lona's companion)  
    George T. Lee (Japanese pilot)  
    Leon Lontoc (Japanese pilot)  
    Jimmie Lano (Japanese pilot)  
    Carmen D'Antonio (Specialty dancer)  
    Luis Alberni (Jerry, native with laundry)  
    Bobby Barber (Native banana man)  
    Allen Fox (Merchant Marine)  
    Frank Marlowe (Merchant Marine)  
    Bob Stephenson (Merchant Marine)  
    Eddie Acuff (Sailor)  
    Larry Thompson (Lieutenant)  
    Frank Wilcox (Captain)  
    Paul McVey (U.S. Naval commander)  
    Ralph Linn (U.S. Naval lieutenant)  

Summary: During World War II, Merchant Marine Toby Smith tells his shipmates the true story of what happened to him the previous summer: While sailing out from Australia, Toby's ship is torpedoed and he, bosun Pete Jenkins, and radio officer Ken Masters are marooned on a nearby island. After thirteen days, a Japanese plane lands on the island and the three Merchant Marines capture the Japanese and steal their plane. They are shot down, however, by an American battleship and are stranded on another island. The second island is occupied, however, and Dr. Curtis, an American physician who had been shipwrecked there years earlier with his daughter Lona, advises the queen of the islanders, Queen Okalana, that the plane is evil as it comes from the land of the "Rising Sun." When Toby, Pete and Ken revive from the crash, they are surrounded by beautiful English-speaking island women. Queen Okalana deems that Toby, Pete and Ken should be executed but Toby squirms so much that the executioner is unable to chop his head off, and Lona suddenly sees a resemblance between Toby and a carving of their sacred god, Momo. The execution is halted, and Toby is hailed as a god. He then saves Pete and Ken by dubbing Pete, "Twerpo," his slave, and Ken, "Gogo," the master mechanic of the "iron bird." Lona falls in love with Ken and threatens to reveal Toby's true identity to her people unless Ken agrees to let her leave the island with them. Lona performs a dance during which she places a flower lei on Ken and tells him to respond with a kiss. Lona's jealous fiancĂ© Alcoa picks a fight with Ken, but when Ken strikes him, his ring leaves an imprint on Alcoa's chin, and Dr. Curtis claims it is the mark of "Momo" so that the islanders will back off. Alcoa and high priest Kahuna are determined to prove that Toby is not a true god, as any man who pretends to be a god will be executed by a man-eating plant. Each time Toby comes close to revealing his human foibles, such as eating, he is saved by sheer luck, or Pete's ingenuity. Dr. Curtis advises a lovesick Lona to proceed with her marriage to Alcoa in order to make Ken jealous. When Queen Okalana is shown a set of spark plugs from the plane, she becomes suspicious that a god needs machinery in order to fly, and wears the plugs as a necklace. During Lona's premarital rite of purification, Ken realizes that he has fallen in love with her, and that night, he romances her and urges her to get the necklace from the Queen while she sleeps. Lona is about to carry out her mission when she is caught by Alcoa, who insists on placing her under protective guard. Ken then reluctantly romances Moana to induce her to steal the necklace, but Lona overhears his overtures and ruins Ken's plans. Toby then dresses up as a island woman and convinces the Queen's guards that she has sent for him. Pete, meanwhile, digs a tunnel under the fence around the queen's compound as an escape route. Unfortunately, he comes up between Kahuna and the guard Akana. By this time, Toby has administered a sleeping potion to the queen and the islanders believe she has died. Alcoa gives Toby until sunrise to prove that he is a god and revive the queen. He fails, and the next morning, he is tied up on a funeral pyre to burn alongside the queen. Curtis convinces Lona that Ken's intentions toward her were honest, and that he only used Moana to help free them all. Curtis cuts the ropes around Toby's hands as the pyre is lighted, while Toby grabs the spark plugs. The islanders are astonished when the queen finally awakens, and the three Merchant Marines, plus Curtis and Lona, run for the plane. To give Ken time to start the plane, Toby and Pete allow themselves to be chased by the islanders. Ken and Alcoa fight until Lona knocks Alcoa out with a monkey wrench, after which the plane takes off with the sailors. Toby concludes his tale by noting that they were picked up by an American cruiser. As proof of his story, Toby offers a photograph of Lona, but the sailors recognize her as actress Dorothy Lamour, and Toby affirms that this is how she got into the movies. 

Production Company: Paramount Pictures, Inc.  
Distribution Company: Paramount Pictures, Inc.  
Director: Ralph Murphy (Dir)
  Frank Tuttle (Dir)
  Harve Foster (Asst dir)
Producer: B. G. DeSylva (Exec prod)
  E. D. Leshin (Assoc prod)
Writer: Walter DeLeon (Scr)
  Arthur Phillips (Scr)
  Seena Owen (Story)
Photography: Karl Struss (Dir of photog)
Art Direction: Hans Dreier (Art dir)
  Haldane Douglas (Art dir)
Film Editor: Arthur Schmidt (Ed)
Set Decoration: George Sawley (Set dec)
Costumes: Edith Head (Cost)
Music: Roy Webb (Mus score)
  Joseph J. Lilley (Vocal arr)
  Arthur Franklin (Mus assoc)
  Augie Goupil (Island chants by)
Sound: W. C. Smith (Sd rec)
  Walter Oberst (Sd rec)
Special Effects: Gordon Jennings (Spec photog eff)
  Farciot Edouart (Process photog)
Dance: Danny Dare (Dances staged by)
Make Up: Wally Westmore (Makeup supv)
Production Misc: Jimmy Lono (Tech adv)
  Germaine Marshall (Asst scr clerk)
Color Personnel: Natalie Kalmus (Technicolor col consultant)
  Robert Brower (Assoc)
Country: United States

Songs: "Beloved," "Boogie Woogie Boogie Man," "What a Day" and "We Have So Little Time," music by Burton Lane, lyrics by Ted Koehler.
Composer: Ted Koehler
  Burton Lane

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number Passed By NBR:
Paramount Pictures, Inc. 31/8/1944 dd/mm/yyyy LP12865 Yes

PCA NO: 9716
Physical Properties: col: Technicolor
  Sd: Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording

Genre: Musical comedy
Sub-Genre: Island
Subjects (Major): Americans in foreign countries
  Impersonation and imposture
  Island life
Subjects (Minor): Airplane accidents
  Merchant Marine
  Rites and ceremonies
  Sleeping potions

Note: Seena Owen's original story was titled "Down Where the Trade Winds Blow." HR news items report the following about the production: Frank Tuttle began directing the film but withdrew in early Nov 1943 due to illness, and was replaced by Ralph Murphy. Dorothy Lamour initially turned down the part until it was rewritten. Betty Rhodes, Johnnie Johnston and John Conte were considered for lead roles, and Twentieth Century-Fox loaned Reed Hadley for this film. 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Box Office   9 Sep 1944.   
Daily Variety   15 Oct 1943.   
Daily Variety   1 Sep 44   pp. 3-4.
Film Daily   5 Sep 44   p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter   30 Apr 43   p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter   14 Sep 43   p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter   16 Sep 43   p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter   20 Sep 43   p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter   22 Sep 43   p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter   29 Sep 43   p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter   10 Nov 43   p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter   3 Nov 43   p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter   26 Nov 1943.   
Hollywood Reporter   1 Dec 43   p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter   1 Sep 44   p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest   2 Sep 44   p. 2081.
New York Times   26 Oct 44   p. 19.
Variety   6 Sep 44   p. 10.

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
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