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"It's all you've got left, isn't it? Brute force."
Nazi_Fighter_David28 October 2007
Richard 'King' Howland and his sister Sloane (Heston and Mimieux) live on an island, the only wonderful place that gets bigger every time they saw it from the sky…

Sloane has just returned from California graduated but she despises waiting… She has something on her mind to tell her brother about Paul (James Darren). So she asks her brother how did he feel about Paul Kahana?

The whole film is about racial intolerance and it sends a strong message, which kept the story interesting… Trade with them, be friends with them, even sleep with them, but don't marry them…

This is Hawaii… It can happen here, and it does all the time… For Laura Beckett (Elizabeth Allen), King's sister-in-law, it happens, but not to people of their class… For King, if Sloane marries Paul, her children will inherit Manoalani one day, and all that goes with it… Paul is pure Hawaiian… Their families have been in these islands over a hundred years… They have never mixed their blood…

Charlton Heston plays a rich narrow-minded pineapple grower, obstinately and intolerantly devoted to his own beliefs, even though he himself having an affair with Mai Chen (France Nuyen), the woman who doesn't ask questions…

Mai knows that most women can make the world go away for a while, but none can make it stay away…Richard Knows that he's in danger of becoming an uncle… His sister and himself are the last of their line…Her son will own Manoalani one day and he has to be the right kid of son… Obviously he could have a child… He might even have a son… But he has no intention of marrying again… But Mai Chen thinks differently… He should have his own son… But King had a son… His name was Richard Howland III… He was 3 years old that day… A tidal wave, 40-foot crest smashed into Hilo and killed him and his mother and 120 others … So he doesn't want another son…

Yvette Mimieux achieved stardom in "Where the Boys Are" (1960) and here, she is incredibly fresh, innocent and beautiful…

Filmed in Color and Wide Screen, the photography is too beautiful presenting a tropical paradise of turquoise waters, white sandy beaches, waving palm trees, lush tropical vegetation and gentle sunshine
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No Diamond Head, but excellent Hawaiian panoramas
SimonJack10 June 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Not many movies have been made that show Hawaii outside of the Honolulu environs. So, "Diamond Head" is a good film just for its panoramas and depiction of ranching and farming on the outer islands. As others have noted, the movie doesn't have anything to do with Diamond Head itself. But the title is a colorful beacon for the film, much as the crater promontory is a striking backdrop to Waikiki Beach.

As others have noted, much of the plot is about the racism that existed at the time. The main character, King Howland, played by Charlton Heston, is conflicted over racial differences. He doesn't appear to look down on native Hawaiians or Asians, and he comments that the whites-only club keeps out the people who make the best company. He has a relationship with a Chinese woman, Mai Chen, played by France Nuyen, who seems to be the love of his life, and he says so. But, he draws the line against interracial marriage in his family. So, he won't marry Mai Chen and he can't accept her having a baby. King's deceased wife's sister, on the other hand, is a hard-nosed racist. King raised his much younger sister, Sloane, played by Yvette Mimieux. She is the catalyst who would bring change into the Howland family by her plans to marry a native Hawaiian whom she has known since childhood. She notes that other mixed marriages take place in Hawaii.

Some other factors enter into the plot. King is tabbed to run for one of the first U.S. Senate seats in Hawaii. His mistress, Mai Chen, becomes pregnant with his baby. How all of this plays out is the substance of the movie. The setting is 1959, and Hawaii has just become the 50th state in the United States. The Howlands own their own island in the Hawaiian chain, Lanoalani. They have their own plane to fly to and from their fictitious home. The island is home to a ranch of 250,000 acres that appears to produce pineapples, sugar cane and cattle.

The movie is based on a novel by a Honolulu newspaperman, Peter Gilman. But it departs from the book considerably. The screenplay eliminates some major characters who are important in the novel, "Such Sweet Thunder." So, we movie viewers are left without any clear picture of Howland's father, wife and half-brother. We do know that after his parents died, King raised his baby sister. He also married and had a son, and his wife and son were killed in a tsunami some years before. Since then, his sister-in-law came to live with him to help raise Sloane.

With that background, I'll leave off comments on how the movie plays out. But I thought movie lovers might be interested in some trivia about Hawaii that relates to the movie plot.

The Howland island and ranch are fictitious, but Hawaii did have some large ranches in the past. The largest of those, the Parker Ranch, was established in 1847 on the big island, Hawaii. It has 250,000 acres and is one of the largest and oldest ranches in the entire U.S. The last of the blood and marriage line of Parker owners died in 1992, and the ranch today is operated by a charitable trust. The Parker ranch mostly produces livestock.

While the movie was made and released in 1963, its setting is in 1959. In 1960, the world's largest recorded earthquake struck Chile. The 8.8 or 9.5 temblor created a major tsunami. A 35-foot wave struck Hilo Bay on the big island with deadly force. It killed 61 people and destroyed more than 500 homes and businesses in downtown Hilo. The population of Hawaii Island's largest city then was about 25,000, and today it's about 45,000. Other areas of the islands had much less damage. But Hawaii has a history of many tsunamis. The U.S. Geological Survey lists 50 tsunamis in Hawaii since the early 1800s. Seven of those have caused major damage.

The tsunami that took the lives of King's wife and son may have been fictitious. Or, the book author may have intended it to be the 1946 tsunami that struck Hawaii. That would have been 13 years before the opening of the movie, and seems to fit with King's loss of his family. The 1946 tsunami was the worst of modern history in the islands. An earthquake in the Aleutian Islands triggered it. But unlike the 1960 event, for which there was considerable warning, the 1946 tsunami struck without warning. It killed 170 people – mostly around Hilo. The bay wave was 30-feet high and the maximum wave reached 55 feet at the northern tip of the island.
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A good movie (may contain spoilers)
royalgypsy24 August 2006
Warning: Spoilers
This movie was a good one for showing another view point in racism with a wealthy young white heiress who lives in Hawaii getting engaged with a native of the island that she grew up with. Her brother who always thought he was unbiased until it came to his little sister's beau has a big problem with it.

Although, all along you get the feeling that she's only fond of him, after his death she goes on a binge. Not because she's sad, but because she's not sad. She states to his brother, Dean, (who she carries a torch for, and he also has wanted her for years) that his brother must of loved her but all she felt was a blank, she doesn't know how to love. She makes him leave her alone, but not long after she collapses from drinking an calls out for him. He comes to get her and takes her to his home where they come to terms with there feelings toward each other. Just when another wedding is being planned they fight and don't see each other for months. Until the birth of her brother's baby (that he doesn't want) when Dean realizes he can't go with out her anymore and comes for her. She apparently comes to realize she could love all along it just had to be the right man and agrees with a kiss. Then her brother, King sees and throws a fit, telling Dean to take her and riding his horse into the ground. At this point he seems to wake up. And endears himself by going to get his son.

There is mention about a incestuous undertone between Sloane and King. There wasn't any sexual tension between them, just plain tension. King had go use to her always being is baby sister, his pet. He didn't have anyone else in his life, didn't want anyone else, he just had her. Racism was a big part of his actions, selfishness at the forefront. The scene where Sloane is dreaming about skinny dipping (reference to an earlier remark made by Dean about the time she jumped into the water buck naked and urged him to join her, but he didn't) and motioning to Dean to join her and then Dean turns into Paul, who runs in and kisses her. When he pulls away he is still Paul and she's smiling, but when she opens her eyes he has turned into King and she jerks away in misery and desperation and starts going under the water as if she is drowning. I don't believe this was suppose to be in response to some incestuous feelings that may have existed between the two siblings. It was to point out that King pushed himself into every part of her life. He set out to live up to his name and dominate and rule every part of his life and Sloane couldn't escape him even in her sleep, he had become her nightmare, never giving her peace. She had feelings of at least a young crush on Dean at an early age and he wanted her as well, but, from comments he makes later, he knew that deep down King was a racist and would not take to the idea of him becoming involved with his sister and it could only cause trouble with the still too young Sloane. She grows up, get's with Paul when they are returning from college. She never loved Paul, though. Was just attracted to him and the idea of marrying him. King objects to her marrying an island boy. He became violent about is objections, Paul is accidentally killed and Sloane is upset because she's not upset. King pushed in between her and Paul and on some level it locked in her mind. King pushes himself into everything in her life, even a dream. She can't escape him.

I find Dean enthralling and loved the actor's performance. I don't think his upset was because he knew his brother would get trouble from the racial aspect, it was because he had feeling for Sloane. I'm sure he was worried for his brother, sure. But in a part of his mind he had marked Sloane for himself, even though he made up his mind to never have her. It just hit home when he found out about Paul and Sloane. You don't get a time stamp on these events, you just know it's been years. He cared about her regardless and when they were thrown together he only put up a slight hesitation before giving in to his feelings. Then of course they both had to be stubborn and fight, not talking for months until they were forced into proximity. Which was good in my opinion. Gave Sloane the time to work some stuff out in her mind (Dean said there was a war going on in her head and she had to decide who win's) and grow up. He realized that what he felt for her was too strong to ignore and he went to get her. I loved his arrogance, though it may not have been arrogance, maybe he just knew that she would be ready to take his hand if he held it out. He went to get her and it seemed almost a formality to go through the motions of apologizing and declaring his intentions out loud. He even told her "You know why I'm here". All he had to do was show up and he did. She wouldn't make the first step so he did. He knew all along it would be that way and she seemed to be waiting. Waiting on herself, mostly. She had to be ready. When he took her in his arms and held her tight she seemed happy for perhaps the first time in her life. Like coming home.
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Ethnic/racial soap opera with a big screen and colours
a66633314 May 2014
The first thing that hit me about this movie was an appreciation of the wide screens and bright colours that prevailed in movies of that era. Hawaii looks great here. On a large screen, that alone would have been worth the price of admission.

As for that other stuff, cast, acting, directing, story, dialogue, etc. Well, this is a soap opera and don't expect too much more except that the plot angles focus on race, ethnic relations and class and this gives them a bit more substance than some other soap operas such "The Picnic" or "Portrait in Black". At the time, it probably skated the line between being edgy enough to intrigue the audience but not so controversial to be scandalous. Today, it comes across as pretty mild although the issues themselves have certainly not disappeared.

Nothing and no one is either brilliant or terrible although Philip Ahn's small part is excellent and produces a strong moment. Heston has his huge screen presence but this is not one of his classic roles. There is not enough there for it to possibly become that. Mimieux looks great and her role is as essential as Heston's and is a soap opera archetype. Nuyen also looks great and, as usual for her in the 60s, melancholy.
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Pineapple Flavored Soap
bkoganbing19 February 2009
I wonder if the late J. Strom Thurmond of South Carolina ever saw this film. He would have understood the character of Charlton Heston in this movie as few others are capable of. As we all know, several years after Thurmond's death in 2003 at 101, a black woman who was his illegitimate daughter came out with a book about the South's long standing segregationist and Dixiecrat candidate for president in 1948.

The film is set in Hawaii in 1959 just upon Hawaii's admission as a state and Charlton Heston comes from a family not unlike the Parkers who still have a ranch on Hawaii's big island that takes a lot acreage there and is the state Ponderosa. Heston's being touted as someone who could be one of their first two US Senators. He's a widower whose wife and son were killed years ago in the famous tidal wave at Hilo and lives at the ranch with his wife's sister Elizabeth Allan and his sister Yvette Mimieux.

Having visited Hawaii for a glorious week I can speak to Hawaii's reputation for tolerance, but even paradise will have a few racial trolls. Even though he's got a Eurasian mistress, France Nuyen of long standing whom he's just put in a family way, he objects mightily to the proposed interracial marriage of native Hawaiian James Darren and Mimieux. When his objections become the underlying cause of tragedy, Heston's political career is shot to pieces. What might fly in Alabama has no place in Hawaii.

During his career Heston also played Thomas Jefferson which came out the same year as Diamond Head. I'm wondering if he didn't channel some of Jefferson into playing 'King' Howland who had a well known backstairs interracial relationship with Sally Hemmings. If Patsy or Polly Jefferson had ever come to father and said they were going to marry some free black man, I imagine Jefferson would have reacted the same way as Heston does with Mimieux.

Diamond Head is a nice Hawaiian soap opera which could have made some great prime time Dynasty like viewing with a pineapple twist. But it fails utterly in conveying any serious message about racial tolerance. Still you can't shoot a bad looking film on Hawaii and since the cast shot it on location, they're all ahead of the game if they got to spend time on the islands. Charlton Heston even got to do it again several years later in The Hawaiians.

Besides those I've mentioned look for George Chakiris as Darren's half brother, Aline McMahon as their mom and Philip Ahn as a most efficient police inspector. What I liked about what Ahn did with the part is that it could have been played like Charlie Chan and it wasn't.

You can never go wrong with a Hawaiian based film. Even the worst films are never bad looking and Diamond Head is far from the worst.
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Mildly diverting dramatics
moonspinner5524 June 2007
Overwought, overcooked film-version of Peter Gilman's book about a politician and land baron in Hawaii who is having an affair with a native girl, butting heads with his own sister over her affair with an island boy! Not-bad, though somewhat stilted island soaper is occasionally funny unintentionally. Despite a good cast (including Charlton Heston, Yvette Mimieux, and James Darren), the characters themselves aren't a very likable lot, and the plot-developments are eventually stagnated by a direction with little inspiration. There was potential here for a really strong melodrama, but it goes unrealized. Nice Hawaiian locales are a compensation, as well as a rousing score by Johnny Williams. **1/2 from ****
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very Shakespearian themes
briefcas10 September 2003
A good film, Macbeth and Romeo-Juliet in a Hawaiian setting. Credible performances, but this film could have been shot in California or mostly on a soundstage. It deserves better than a 4.5 of 10 but surely not more than a 7. A poignant social, cultural commentary on Hawaii becoming a State in mid-Twentieth century.
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A great movie to watch for the first time...
rtpmedic14 April 2004
Charlton Heston does a great job of acting by becoming the opposite of what he is in real life. His sister comes home from college only to tell him that she is in love with a Hawaiian native (James Darren) to which he is opposed because of his race. Little does anyone know that "King" (Heston) is seeing a Hawaiian woman himself who carries a secret. The story moves well and does not lag or leave you confused. There are also some great supporting roles played out. I won't spoil it for you, but I will say that this is a great movie to watch for the first time and also a great addition to your film collection.
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A film about a mixed marriage that produces mixed results.
MartinHafer6 April 2016
So, you decide you want to make a film with a strong social statement about prejudice. You want to show the stupidity and hypocrisy of folks hating mixed-race people...and they then get folks like George Chakiris and James Darren to play these 'mixed' characters!! The actors were lovely men...but looked about as much like they were from mixed ancestry as Shirley Temple! In other words, despite a great story idea they cop out and pick the very white actors to play these characters!! What a mistake...and it clearly was a sign of the times in which it was made. Perhaps the producers had a hard time finding mixed actors suitable for the roles...but finding pretty teen heartthrobs seemed inappropriate given the serious plot. My assumption is that the writer probably felt a bit sick about this...but they almost never have any influence on who plays their characters. But I will excuse some of this--for its day it was rather broad-minded. Plus, Charlton Heston should be applauded for such a role, as he was one of the few white actors who stood along side the Freedom Marchers...so it's pretty obvious that this film meant something to him. After having recently completed BEN HUR and THE BIG COUNTRY he could have chosen any project and chose this.

The film is a soapy affair in which a supposedly liberal-minded and very powerful Hawaiian man, 'King' Howland, is horrified when his sister (Yvette Mimieux) falls in love with a guy of mixed white and Hawaiian blood (James Darren). But he's also a complete hypocrite, as on the side he has an Asian woman (France Nuyen) of his own!! And, when she become pregnant he refuses to have anything to do with her or the child! Nice guy, huh?! What's next? See the film...or not.

Overall, this is a decent film...though if you're looking for Heston in a better film about Hawaii, I prefer THE HAWAIIANS (a sequel to HAWAII). The story is interesting and engaging but loses a bit due to the casting and the soapy elements which deter from the film's believability. The worst is some of the dialog (particularly some of the drivel given to Mimieux to deliver). Not bad entertainment but that's really about it.
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Cubic Zirconia Head?
JasparLamarCrabb10 August 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Unless I missed it, there's not a single reference to Diamond Head in this Hawaii-set soap opera. Nevertheless, the meaningless title is not the most perplexing thing about the film. What's astounding is how seriously Charlton Heston, Yvette Mimieux, James Darren & George Chakiris take this melodrama. Heston is Richard "King" Howland, a modern day ruler of a plantation where nothing transpires without his input. Mimieux is his extraordinarily younger sister, bent on marrying islander Darren. A lot of lurid nonsense ensues as Heston's hypocrisy is revealed. There's no action, some fairly lousy acting and some rather dull direction by Guy Green. Heston says "damn" a lot, Mimieux gets drunk a lot and France Nuyen (as Heston's kept woman) espouses a lot of common sense advice to virtually everyone. Frankly, the film is so boring, an eruption by ANY volcano would have been most welcome.
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Yvette Mimieux in Hawaii
williwaw17 March 2011
Columbia Pictures retained the services of expert director Guy Green who had directed a beautiful movie at MGM Light In The Piazza and cast the leading lady of that film Yvette Mimieux on a loan out from her studio MGM as the above the title star of Diamond Head. Co starring in this romantic film set in Hawaii is rugged Charlton Heston and George Chakiris -who won an Oscar for West Side Story -as the romantic interest for Ms. Mimieux. Not sure what is more beautiful the scenery of Hawaii or Yvette Mimieux. Columbia also cast James Darren a Columbia pictures contract star in the film as well. I enjoyed this escapist and beautifully filmed movie. Btw Ms. Mimieux would return to MGM for a few more movies including her hit Joy In The Morning co starring with Richard Chamberlain and then retired.
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Loved the movie - hated the script
vivscripts22 May 2018
Warning: Spoilers
I loved this movie!!!!! Charlton Heston (King) as the bigoted brother or Yvette Mimieux (Sloane)was superb. The story still has relevance. There is racism on both sides of the fence. Throw in a triangle of James Darren (Paul) brother to George Chakiris (Dean) and you have a very entertaining movie. Super hot chemistry between Chakiris and Mimieux. Some didn't like the cast. I don't have a problem with it, just as long as the acting is good. I even liked the supporting players like France Nyugen as the beautiful but doomed Mai Chen and Philip Ahn as the police inspector. But I have to say the script stank to high heaven. The dialogue was line after line of what I can only think the writer thought was catch phrases. Margaurite Roberts wrote a lot of old westerns. The dialogue would have been perfect for a campy old western but for a modern day setting it was only a distraction from what should have been a very important story line. For instance... "My brother knows you were born to the purple, but he doesn't know how much you like to wear it." and how can I forget... "Look, I hit you and I'm sorry. It's been hurting ever since."????? Did she really think this was cool, or that real people talk to each other this way. I love the movie, but the script? PLEASE!!!!! Maybe this movie could be redone. Anyway script problems and all I still love the movie.
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Pineapples and Problems on the Islands for Chuck
Bogmeister16 May 2006
The title sounds like some James Bond-type adventure but it's typical melodrama circa 1959 in Hawaii (Heston would return to the locale in an earlier century in "The Hawaiians" in '70). Heston's character hearkens back to his rich landowner of "The Naked Jungle"(54), so it's as if the same character is a decade older. The theme of race relations (white vs. brown here) is played over the plot in a ham-handed manner, though a couple of characters get to voice an almost-profound observation regarding no 'pure-bred' people existing in some future generation. Heston's character, though predictably arrogant & stubborn, starts out as a fairly liberal easygoing chap for a powerful rich white man of the time but quickly learns he can't apply those nice attitudes when it hits close to home: his sister (Mimieux) plans to marry a Hawaiian (Darren) and Heston won't have it.

There follows a hint of incestuous undertones and, at some point, it almost looks like Heston plans to marry his sister himself to keep things 'all in the family' - an obsession he reveals as the story progresses. But this is over 40 years ago and nothing goes beyond just some cheap suggestion and titillating the dirty minds of some audience members. By the end, we realize it's the often-used saying of 'money can't buy happiness' which prevails over the sometimes maudlin scenery-chewing. Speaking of scenery, though, the landscapes of Hawaii are very nice here, especially on a widescreen DVD version. And Heston shows why he's a bigger star than the rest of the cast, but the story itself is pretty much forgettable and uninspired.
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Good lesson!
kenandraf27 May 2001
This movie illustrates why racists who insist on not allowing racial intermarriage are dead wrong.It blocks the natural evolution of humans and stunts development due to an incestuous kind of gene pool self restriction.This line of thought was nicely depicted particularly with the cold incestous sexual tension which started to develop between Heston and Mimieux towards the end of the movie.Very artfully done and to people with good mental capacity,the messege comes across well.Very good drama.The cinematography and direction was very good,as well as the acting.The story was simple but bold in tackling these sensitive issues.Not for people who do not like drama and certainly not for racist seperatists.....
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Love love love, money can't buy me love.
bombersflyup28 February 2018
Warning: Spoilers
Diamond Head was a so so to reasonable film about power and mixed marriage, but nothing special.

I did not care for any character in this film. Richard is suppose to be unlikable, but Sloane isn't much better, she will basically have anyone who will jump into the water with her. Jumping from one brother to the next. Sloane: Feel? That's just it, I don't feel. Anything. Paul must of loved me and all I felt was a blank. I don't know how to love. Then she gets with Dean after telling him this. This is a romance?? There was no chemistry between anyone. It was an interesting and engaging enough film though.
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"Giant" on the isles
funkyfry3 June 2015
Warning: Spoilers
This is a big film -- the kind of film made from big novels about big ideas about big people, like Charlton Heston's character (originally written for Clark Gable) "The King." In fact, it reminds me of Edna Ferber's "Giant", or James Michener's "Hawaii." The themes of racism and family strife that motivate the film might have been daring in the early 60s but aren't compelling enough at this point to power the film's entire running length.

The big revelation in the film, for me, was (3rd billed) George Chakiris' performance. I never really thought of him as much of an actor, but he definitely nailed this role. He's not a man who is unlikable, but rather a man who doesn't want to be liked (or, perhaps, who doesn't want to need to be appreciated, only respected). At first, his pride and resentment seem simply racially motivated and come off as jealousy; eventually, we begin to see Heston's "King" the same way Chakiris' character does.

James Darren is attractive and serviceable, and Heston approaches the role with his usual sincerity and self-sacrifice (he's not afraid to gradually turn this respectable powerful man into a heel). Yvette Mimieux has a bit too much of a baby face for the role.... at times it feels like a Gidget movie with her and Darren running around on the beach. But her performance is OK.

There's just nothing really compelling or moving about any of these characters. Overblown, novelistic dialog doesn't help. The film feels a travelogue with melodrama thrown in, like a 20s/30s MGM movie (with Clark Gable, of course!) by Victor Fleming or Woody Van Dyke movie, but cinematographer turned director Guy Green is no Victor Fleming. There are some awesome compositions, but they sort of fly by in the midst of the relatively trite plot directions. The characters take their situations so seriously that one is reminded of Douglas Sirk, sans irony.
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Head of Diamond
DarthBill9 December 2009
Warning: Spoilers
When Richard "King" Howland (Charlton Heston), a rich plantation owner, widower, and possible political candidate in Hawaii circa 1959, nicknamed "King" for the way he tries to control everything in his life, finds out that his younger sister Sloane (Yvette) intends to marry a local Hawaiian boy Paul (James Darren), even though she's long been pining for his racially mixed doctor brother Dean (George Chakiris of West Side Story fame), his seemingly almost ideal life comes crashing down around him when his stubborn, hypocritical racism leads to a series of misfortunes. Though he never thought much of intermingling "the races" before, even having a Hawaiian mistress himself, who is now pregnant with his child, the idea of his sister marrying one and having interracial children appalls him. After Paul dies in a fight that smears King's name and ruins his career, he continues to having falling outs with his sister in law Laura (Elizabeth Allen), who of course had feelings for him all along but could never reach him, his sister, and his mistress. Even as he begins to realize that his stubborn ways are destroying all that he holds dear he can't seem to let go. After his mistress dies giving birth to his son, Dean comes to finally make it clear that he and Sloane will be together regardless of whether or not big brother approves, King lashes out at both of them and rides off, blinded by anger and unable to think. Finally at the end of a long ride, King seems to have a moral awakening, then returns home to find Sloane & Dean gone with his son, he gets his closest servant to come with him as he drives out to reclaim his son.

Competently made drama about the futility of hatred and racism, generally well acted all around. Heston gives an overlooked yet interesting performance as a man who, as his mistress puts it, is determined to not to let himself be happy.
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Cut from the ROSS HUNTER SCHOOL OF Film-making
garrard30 April 2006
Warning: Spoilers
From the beginning of the film when manly Chuck Heston majestically rides his horse through the sprawling pineapple fields, to the triumphant swelling of a young John Williams' score, the viewer knows that this movie is BIG.

Well, it is big in the sense that it's one of those big soap operas that were popular in the mid-50's to the mid-60's, trademarks of producer Ross Hunter (not the maker of this one, though).

The plot is rather simple: plantation owner (Heston) has a little sister (Yvette Mimieux) that's carrying on with a native boy (James Darren), much to the displeasure of Heston, who himself is having a fling with a native girl (France Nuyen, looking appealing as ever). Thus, all things come out in the open, though tragically, and the hypocritical Heston finds himself a wealthy man, abandoned and alone.
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Good script, direction almost overcome a miscast hammy Heston.
xavrush8928 April 2005
This film is much more stirring than "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner," another racially charged drama that would come along four years later. And Yvette Mimieux is fare more captivating than the sugary Katharine Houghton from that film. The other actors all fare well in their performance, with one notable exception:

If the Razzie Award people ever gave an award for "Miscast the most times over the course of a career" it's Charlton Heston. There is way too much of an age difference between him and his supposed sister Yvette Mimieux, they should have made him play her uncle. (Although I can see how his name probably came up to play such an arrogant S.O.B.) Did he have it in his contract that in every one of his films he got to punch someone? His one-note performance sucks some of the juice out, but fortunately this is more of an ensemble piece.

This came on late at night, and I stayed up because I really wanted to find out what would happen. The story still resonates today. The themes are still around today: hypocrisy, prejudice, stereotypes, class, etc. But the thing that makes this just a good film and not a great one though is that unfortunate movie habit of the era: trying to tie everything up neatly at the end.

With all the dramatic events that had gone on prior to the conclusion, the last few scenes seem hurried, not fleshed-out enough. I might not recommend this film as much as the similarly-themed "Sayonara," but if you have the opportunity to watch it you will be intrigued. If you're not in the first ten minutes, then you'll know it's not for you.

Note to certain interested parties: There are several very hot-looking actors in this, both male and female!
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The best soap opera with pineapples
Boyo-229 May 2001
This might be one of (maybe) seven movies made in Hawaii in the 60's that does not star Elvis. He could have stopped by, Lord knows anything would have helped.

Speaking of which, for some very annoying reason, Charlton Heston is referred to as the 'King' by the other characters. Yvette Mimieux is his sister who is in love with a Hawaiian and that does not fly well with the dominating King, but its not like Troy Donahue was an alternative, right? They ARE in Hawaii, right?

She carries on with James Darren, heavily made up and George Chakiris is around since the year before he away with playing a Puerto Rican in "West Side Story", so why not? He plays a doctor but I think the only thing in his medicine bag is his Supporting Oscar, to remind anyone who asks what the hell he's doing in this movie.

In the meantime, Heston, ever the hypocrite, is having an affair with a Hawaiian woman (Nuyen) and apparently the movie is racist enough to make the statement that Hawaiians are okay to sleep with but don't mix the bloodlines. All prejudice is right on the table and even an elderly Hawaiian woman admits to her own reverse-prejudice. How nice.

I am a big Mimieux fan and even watched her other effort with Heston, called "Skyjacked". She is very beautiful in my eyes and a decent actress.

With that in mind, if you're in the mood for some heavily dated, overacted melodrama, you could do a lot worse.

I still wish someone would explain to me why Heston had such a great career. Its not like there weren't 30 other actors who could've done better in any of the movies he was in. He was from a time when there was no shortage of competent leading men who could look good on the screen AND act. He's not really evil enough in this to make a memorable villian and since the movie rests on his huge jaw, its not as trashy as it could have been, or as classy either.
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Great escapism
thebeez534 October 2018
The people are pretty. The scenery is spectacular. What more do you want?
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DIAMOND HEAD (Guy Green, 1963) **1/2
Bunuel197616 April 2008
Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, glossy soap operas were among Hollywood's most popular offerings – before such melodramatic stuff became standard TV fare, a status which holds up to this day. These are hardly my kind of genre picture – which, perhaps, explains why I've yet to sit through efforts even as acclaimed as PEYTON PLACE (1957)!

Incidentally, given the title's similarity to another Charlton Heston vehicle (which actually preceded this viewing) – namely the Western ARROWHEAD (1953) – it's no wonder that this isn't a reference to anything in particular, and certainly doesn't come up at all in the script! Anyway, while the film doesn't have much of a reputation – especially since it came at the height of Heston's epic phase – I found it surprisingly tolerable (apart from some impossibly corny dance routines from the locals: the narrative is set in Hawaii, to which the star would return for the aptly-named THE HAWAIIANS [1970], which I hopefully also intend to check out in time for this ongoing Heston marathon).

Interestingly, good ol' Chuck is perhaps at his most unsympathetic here – playing someone who can only be described as selfish, pig-headed and a hypocrite! Besides, given the actor's controversial latter-day political activity (and which seems to have received undue attention at the time of his passing), it's worth noting that his character in the film is persuaded to run for a place in the Senate because of his influence in the community – but the eventual campaign is botched due to personal scandals (having forbidden his kid sister Yvette Mimieux to marry local boy James Darren, is implicated in the latter's violent death, and himself impregnates Hawaiian France Nuyen!).

The cast features a number of current 'stars', whose allure would basically vanish by the end of the decade: apart from the afore-mentioned Mimieux, Darren (best-remembered for the blockbuster THE GUNS OF NAVARONE [1961], he would go on to play the bewildered protagonist in Jess Franco's erotic/cerebral masterpiece VENUS IN FURS [1968]) and Nuyen (she was often paired with Hollywood leading men in such Asian-set romantic dramas), there are George Chakiris (as Darren's half-brother, who also gets in Heston's hair by falling for Mimieux himself) and Elizabeth Allen (appearing here as the glamorous sister of Heston's late wife, and naturally secretly harboring emotions for him, she would later graduate to leading lady for another Hawaiian flick – the John Ford/John Wayne comic romp DONOVAN'S REEF [1963]). An important supporting role, however, is that of veteran Aline MacMahon as the typically indomitable mother figure (of Chakiris and Darren's characters).

If handled properly, such histrionic stuff can be reasonably entertaining (especially given their predilection for confrontation scenes): this one's well enough done under the circumstances (with Darren's untimely demise being handled in a particularly inventive manner) but, for good measure, includes a Freudian dream sequence towards the end! Guy Green was a Brit who, after a career as a cinematographer (winning an Oscar for David Lean's classic adaptation of GREAT EXPECTATIONS [1946]), graduated to directing: he seemed to specialize in just this type of slick 'entertainment' – one of these, LIGHT IN THE PIAZZA (1962; also with Mimieux), is being shown on Cable TV for the nth time this very week-end and which I intend to record – though his work could also go from Oscar-worthy 'message pictures' such as THE MARK (1961) and A PATCH OF BLUE (1965), perhaps his most popular effort but which I've yet to watch (I do own a recording of it, though), to the notorious gimmicky-yet-indecipherable puzzle THE MAGUS (1968)
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