Trying to get Flaherty to repeat the success of his earlier project, Paramount Pictures sent Flaherty to Samoa to capture the traditional life of the Pacific islanders on film. Flaherty arrived in Samoa in April 1923 and stayed until December 1924, with the film being completed in December 1925. Flaherty took both a regular movie camera and a Prizmacolor camera, hoping to film some footage in that color process, but the Prizmacolor camera malfunctioned. Moana is thought to be the first feature film made with panchromatic black-and-white film, rather than orthochromatic film.
However, Flaherty was always one step behind Western influences. Finally ending up in the village of Safune on the island of Savai'i, he found that the missionaries had been there before him, and the native population had already abandoned their traditional clothing for Western styles.
Furthermore, the island was a virtual paradise so that unlike Nanook, he could not build on the theme of "Man against Nature" for the storyline of his film. Therefore, while the film was visually stunning, it failed at the box office, leaving Flaherty to attempt to find other locations more like the treacherous Arctic for his next film.
|Robert J. Flaherty|
|Nanook of the North (1922) • Moana (1926) The Twenty-four Dollar Island (1927) • Tabu (1931) Man of Aran (1934) • Elephant Boy (1937) The Land (1942) • Louisiana Story (1948)|