The Hawaiians


2h 23m 1970

Brief Synopsis

A wanderer returns home only to find political turmoil, disease and romantic difficulties.

Photos & Videos

Film Details

MPAA Rating
Genre
Drama
Historical
Sequel
Release Date
Jan 1970
Premiere Information
New York opening: 17 Jun 1970
Production Company
Mirisch Productions, Inc.
Distribution Company
United Artists Corp.
Country
United States
Location
Hawaii, USA
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel Hawaii by James Albert Michener (New York, 1959).

Technical Specs

Duration
2h 23m
Sound
Mono (Westrex Recording System)
Color
Color (DeLuxe)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.35 : 1

Synopsis

Whip Hoxworth returns to Hawaii with a boatload of indentured Chinese laborers to find that his grandfather has died, leaving his fortune to Whip's cousin, Micah Hale. Unwilling to work for Micah, Whip establishes his own plantation with the help of the Chinese laborers, including Nyuk Tsin and Mun Ki, a couple who were brought on the boat. Milton Overpeck, an engineer, persuades Whip to drill for water, and when the well succeeds, irrigation becomes possible for the previously barren land. Whip gives Nyuk some land, and with her help, he turns the plantation into a prosperous pineapple enterprise. Purity, Whip's Hawaiian wife, is not happy, however, and leaves to rear their son Noel in native Hawaiian fashion; and Nyuk goes to a leper colony with her husband when he develops the dread disease. Many years later, Nyuk, whose children are now embarking on prosperous careers, returns to the island and finds Whip living with a Japanese mistress. When Queen Liliuokalani, the sovereign of native Hawaiians, tries to reestablish her dominion over the island, Whip succeeds in deposing her, and Micah is appointed president of the new Republic of Hawaii. Disaster strikes again, however, as a plague hits, and the Chinese ghetto is burned to the ground to prevent the spread of infection. Whip offers to help rebuild the burned section of the city and to help restore the financially ruined Nyuk. Finally, both agree to a marriage, which they had previously opposed, between Whip's son Noel and Nyuk's daughter Mei Li.

Film Details

MPAA Rating
Genre
Drama
Historical
Sequel
Release Date
Jan 1970
Premiere Information
New York opening: 17 Jun 1970
Production Company
Mirisch Productions, Inc.
Distribution Company
United Artists Corp.
Country
United States
Location
Hawaii, USA
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel Hawaii by James Albert Michener (New York, 1959).

Technical Specs

Duration
2h 23m
Sound
Mono (Westrex Recording System)
Color
Color (DeLuxe)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.35 : 1

Award Nominations

Best Costume Design

1970

Articles

The Hawaiians


Imperialism, leprosy, mental illness, slave labor, greed, family tradition, and achievement against all odds are just a few of the strains that run through The Hawaiians (1970), an epic telling of the island's struggles at the end of the nineteenth century. The second installment in the film adaptation of James Michener's massive story, Hawaii (1966), The Hawaiians (1970) relates the last third of the book, following the island's growth into the 20th century and the influx of Chinese and Japanese immigrants, initially as cheap labor.

Charlton Heston stars as Whipple "Whip" Hoxworth, the disenfranchised grandson of one of Hawaii's leading white settlers (played by Richard Harris in Hawaii), who left him nothing and inspired Whip to create his own fortune in pineapples. Geraldine Chaplin is his highborn Hawaiian wife, who has a mental breakdown after giving birth and goes native. But the real star of the picture is Tina Chen, a young medical technician who had almost no acting experience. She plays as Nyuk Tsin, who comes to Hawaii aboard one of Whip's slave-labor hauls and ends up becoming a matriarch of the island, respected by the locals and her own large family.

The film's cinematography, by Lucien Ballard (The Wild Bunch, 1969) and Philip Lathrop (The Pink Panther, 1964), delivers the appropriate epic look to the story, beginning with the film's opening aboard Whip's ship. Such grand scale photography had its problems, though. Heston recalls in his autobiography In the Arena: "From shooting on a ship we moved to shooting from a chopper, which also has its problems. It can give you wonderfully acrobatic shots, not possible before the quantum leap in a helicopter design provided by the Vietnam War, but it's almost as tricky as filming on the water. What looked like a fairly simple shot-throwing a dead leper from a cliff into the sea off the leper island of Molokai-was vastly complicated by the chopper's problems. We spent half a day on it."

The Hawaiians is directed by Tom Gries (father of The Pretender's Jon Gries), who had collaborated with Heston on what many believe is the actor's finest film, Will Penny (1968). Gries and Heston had just finished another film prior to work on The Hawaiians - Number One (1969) - about a pro quarterback pushing forty. In his autobiography, Heston remembers his ambivalence towards his role in The Hawaiians: "I tried my best to dismiss my anxieties about Whip Hoxsworth's structural function on the film. Maybe this blunted the swordblade edge an actor should bring to any role. If that's so, I have no excuse for it." Heston expressed concern about not being more involved in his part throughout his journal entries for the production. He says he told producer Walter Mirisch (Hawaii) from the beginning that the real story revolved around Tina Chen's character and not his own. "You also need to fall in love with the guy you're playing, to marry his story....I'd certainly done it with Tommy Gries on Will Penny and Number One, but we somehow fell short on The Hawaiians."

Despite Heston's admitted disengagement from his character, The Hawaiians manages to create a compelling picture of a turbulent time that is still not well understood. The film was nominated for the Oscar® for Best Costume Design and Tina Chen was nominated for the Best Supporting Actress Golden Globe.

Producer: Walter Mirisch, Robert Stambler
Director: Tom Gries
Screenplay: James Michener (novel), James R. Webb
Cinematography: Lucien Ballard, Philip H. Lathrop
Film Editing: Byron 'Buzz' Brandt, Ralph E. Winters
Art Direction: George B. Chan
Music: Henry Mancini
Cast: Charlton Heston (Whipple Hoxworth), Geraldine Chaplin (Purity Hoxworth), John Phillip Law (Noel Hoxworth), Mako (Mun Ki), Khigh Dhiegh (Kai Chung), Don Knight (Milton Overpeck).
C-134m. Letterboxed.

by Emily Soares
The Hawaiians

The Hawaiians

Imperialism, leprosy, mental illness, slave labor, greed, family tradition, and achievement against all odds are just a few of the strains that run through The Hawaiians (1970), an epic telling of the island's struggles at the end of the nineteenth century. The second installment in the film adaptation of James Michener's massive story, Hawaii (1966), The Hawaiians (1970) relates the last third of the book, following the island's growth into the 20th century and the influx of Chinese and Japanese immigrants, initially as cheap labor. Charlton Heston stars as Whipple "Whip" Hoxworth, the disenfranchised grandson of one of Hawaii's leading white settlers (played by Richard Harris in Hawaii), who left him nothing and inspired Whip to create his own fortune in pineapples. Geraldine Chaplin is his highborn Hawaiian wife, who has a mental breakdown after giving birth and goes native. But the real star of the picture is Tina Chen, a young medical technician who had almost no acting experience. She plays as Nyuk Tsin, who comes to Hawaii aboard one of Whip's slave-labor hauls and ends up becoming a matriarch of the island, respected by the locals and her own large family. The film's cinematography, by Lucien Ballard (The Wild Bunch, 1969) and Philip Lathrop (The Pink Panther, 1964), delivers the appropriate epic look to the story, beginning with the film's opening aboard Whip's ship. Such grand scale photography had its problems, though. Heston recalls in his autobiography In the Arena: "From shooting on a ship we moved to shooting from a chopper, which also has its problems. It can give you wonderfully acrobatic shots, not possible before the quantum leap in a helicopter design provided by the Vietnam War, but it's almost as tricky as filming on the water. What looked like a fairly simple shot-throwing a dead leper from a cliff into the sea off the leper island of Molokai-was vastly complicated by the chopper's problems. We spent half a day on it." The Hawaiians is directed by Tom Gries (father of The Pretender's Jon Gries), who had collaborated with Heston on what many believe is the actor's finest film, Will Penny (1968). Gries and Heston had just finished another film prior to work on The Hawaiians - Number One (1969) - about a pro quarterback pushing forty. In his autobiography, Heston remembers his ambivalence towards his role in The Hawaiians: "I tried my best to dismiss my anxieties about Whip Hoxsworth's structural function on the film. Maybe this blunted the swordblade edge an actor should bring to any role. If that's so, I have no excuse for it." Heston expressed concern about not being more involved in his part throughout his journal entries for the production. He says he told producer Walter Mirisch (Hawaii) from the beginning that the real story revolved around Tina Chen's character and not his own. "You also need to fall in love with the guy you're playing, to marry his story....I'd certainly done it with Tommy Gries on Will Penny and Number One, but we somehow fell short on The Hawaiians." Despite Heston's admitted disengagement from his character, The Hawaiians manages to create a compelling picture of a turbulent time that is still not well understood. The film was nominated for the Oscar® for Best Costume Design and Tina Chen was nominated for the Best Supporting Actress Golden Globe. Producer: Walter Mirisch, Robert Stambler Director: Tom Gries Screenplay: James Michener (novel), James R. Webb Cinematography: Lucien Ballard, Philip H. Lathrop Film Editing: Byron 'Buzz' Brandt, Ralph E. Winters Art Direction: George B. Chan Music: Henry Mancini Cast: Charlton Heston (Whipple Hoxworth), Geraldine Chaplin (Purity Hoxworth), John Phillip Law (Noel Hoxworth), Mako (Mun Ki), Khigh Dhiegh (Kai Chung), Don Knight (Milton Overpeck). C-134m. Letterboxed. by Emily Soares

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

Location scenes filmed in Hawaii. Film is a sequel to Hawaii, q.v.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States Summer June 1970

Based on James Michener's novel "Hawaii" (New York, 1959).

Released in United States Summer June 1970