Never the Twain Shall Meet (1931)

79-80 mins | Drama | 16 May 1931

Director:

W. S. Van Dyke

Cinematographer:

Merritt Gerstad

Editor:

Ben Lewis

Production Designer:

Cedric Gibbons

Production Company:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
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HISTORY

An Apr 1930 FD news item indicated that Lionel Barrymore was set to direct this film, and that Raquel Torres was cast in a leading part, but they did not work on the production. According to a MPH pre-production news item, actor Johnny Mack Brown was originally set to star opposite Conchita Montenegro. A 22 Apr 1931 M-G-M studio billing sheet notes that "several writers" worked on the screenplay, but that "no credit will be given." However, writers Ruth Cummings, John Lynch and Edwin Justus Mayer were credited onscreen. The Var review incorrectly lists Eulalie Jensen's character name as Mrs. Craven.
       According to the file for Never the Twain Shall Meet in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library, in May 1930 Hays office official John V. Wilson met with M-G-M representatives and informed them that their treatment of the picture was "all right from the point of view of miscegenation because the father of the girl is white and he is the only one shown in the picture. The mother was a Polynesian queen and Polynesians are not black." Wilson also suggested that "it might be dangerous to have the son already married and that it would be better to retain the idea in the original story that he has been engaged to the girl a long time and is just on the point of marrying her...If in the begining of the picture a great deal of audience sympathy is created for the situation surrounding the son and if in the end of the picture the audience is made to feel with him the fallacy ... More Less

An Apr 1930 FD news item indicated that Lionel Barrymore was set to direct this film, and that Raquel Torres was cast in a leading part, but they did not work on the production. According to a MPH pre-production news item, actor Johnny Mack Brown was originally set to star opposite Conchita Montenegro. A 22 Apr 1931 M-G-M studio billing sheet notes that "several writers" worked on the screenplay, but that "no credit will be given." However, writers Ruth Cummings, John Lynch and Edwin Justus Mayer were credited onscreen. The Var review incorrectly lists Eulalie Jensen's character name as Mrs. Craven.
       According to the file for Never the Twain Shall Meet in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library, in May 1930 Hays office official John V. Wilson met with M-G-M representatives and informed them that their treatment of the picture was "all right from the point of view of miscegenation because the father of the girl is white and he is the only one shown in the picture. The mother was a Polynesian queen and Polynesians are not black." Wilson also suggested that "it might be dangerous to have the son already married and that it would be better to retain the idea in the original story that he has been engaged to the girl a long time and is just on the point of marrying her...If in the begining of the picture a great deal of audience sympathy is created for the situation surrounding the son and if in the end of the picture the audience is made to feel with him the fallacy of his action is deserting his former life, the tone of the picture will be kept at a level sufficient to satisfy the standards of the Code." The MPAA/PCA file also notes that the film was rejected by censors in Ireland.
       An earlier version of Peter B. Kyne's novel was filmed by M-G-M under the same title in 1925, directed by Maurice Tourneur and starring Anita Stewart and Bert Lytell (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1921-30 ; F2.3804).
More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Film Daily
18 Apr 30
p. 10.
Film Daily
7 Jun 31
p. 10.
HF
21 Feb 31
p. 24.
Hollywood Reporter
16 Apr 31
p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald
24 Jan 31
p. 45.
Motion Picture Herald
30 May 31
p. 55.
New York Times
6 Jun 31
p. 15.
New York Times
14 Jun 31
p. 5.
Variety
9 Jun 31
p. 19.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Cosmopolitan Production
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCER
Supv
WRITERS
Dial cont
Addl dial
Addl dial
PHOTOGRAPHY
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
COSTUMES
SOUND
Rec dir
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Never the Twain Shall Meet by Peter B. Kyne (New York, 1923).
AUTHOR
SONGS
"Islands of Love," music and lyrics by Arthur Freed.
COMPOSER
DETAILS
Release Date:
16 May 1931
Production Date:
11 February--10 March 1931
Copyright Claimant:
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Distributing Corp.
Copyright Date:
18 September 1931
Copyright Number:
LP2482
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Sound System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
79-80
Length(in feet):
7,131
Length(in reels):
8
Country:
United States
Passed by NBR:
Yes
SYNOPSIS

Dan Pritchard is a partner with his father at the San Francisco-based shipping company Pritchard and Pritchard. Dan is engaged to socialite Maisie Morrisson, but is frustrated by Maisie’s aloofness and refusal to set a wedding date. When Dan responds to a message from Captain Larrieau, a close friend of his father, that requests he meet him at his docked ship, he learns that the seaman has contracted leprosy. After reminding the young shipping official that his will is located in Dan's office, Larrieau informs Dan that upon his death, the Pritchards will have sole custody of his wild, young, half-Polynesian daughter Tamea. Before committing suicide, Larrieau asks Dan to assure that Tamea will be given good education and married to a suitable husband. Tamea, who grew up in the islands, soon finds herself in unaccustomed surroundings when she is taken to the swank Pritchard mansion and presented to their servants. The rebellious young girl, who insists on remaining barefoot, is awed by the Pritchards’ modern trappings and begs not to be sent away. Much to everyone's dismay, Tamea falls in love with Dan and begins to flaunt her affection for him before the others. While at a party, Dan’s friend Mark Mellenger, concerned about Dan’s growing attraction to Tamea, tells the girl that Dan must "mate" with a white woman rather than her. Angered by his remark, Tamea confronts Dan, who is talking to Maisie. When Maisie tries to soothe Tamea by cooing that she should not be ashamed that she is not white, Tamea storms out and Dan chastises Maisie for her insensitive comment. ... +


Dan Pritchard is a partner with his father at the San Francisco-based shipping company Pritchard and Pritchard. Dan is engaged to socialite Maisie Morrisson, but is frustrated by Maisie’s aloofness and refusal to set a wedding date. When Dan responds to a message from Captain Larrieau, a close friend of his father, that requests he meet him at his docked ship, he learns that the seaman has contracted leprosy. After reminding the young shipping official that his will is located in Dan's office, Larrieau informs Dan that upon his death, the Pritchards will have sole custody of his wild, young, half-Polynesian daughter Tamea. Before committing suicide, Larrieau asks Dan to assure that Tamea will be given good education and married to a suitable husband. Tamea, who grew up in the islands, soon finds herself in unaccustomed surroundings when she is taken to the swank Pritchard mansion and presented to their servants. The rebellious young girl, who insists on remaining barefoot, is awed by the Pritchards’ modern trappings and begs not to be sent away. Much to everyone's dismay, Tamea falls in love with Dan and begins to flaunt her affection for him before the others. While at a party, Dan’s friend Mark Mellenger, concerned about Dan’s growing attraction to Tamea, tells the girl that Dan must "mate" with a white woman rather than her. Angered by his remark, Tamea confronts Dan, who is talking to Maisie. When Maisie tries to soothe Tamea by cooing that she should not be ashamed that she is not white, Tamea storms out and Dan chastises Maisie for her insensitive comment. Dan follows Tamea home, where she seduces him. As Dan falls in love with the passionate Tamea, he loses his ardor for Maisie. When Dan’s father, upset that his son has fallen in love with the Polynesian girl, sends her back to the island, Dan follows her. On the island, Tamea and Dan live as lovers in their idyllic surroundings until Dan discovers that Tamea has a jealous suitor, Tolongo. Distressed by the oppressive heat and primitive customs of the island and jealous over Tamea’s relationship with Tolongo, Dan begins to frequent a bar owned by another Westerner, where he spends his time drinking with Porter, an expatriate drunk. After scrapping with Tolongo, the drunken and embittered Dan later whips Tamea, but they make up with a kiss. When Maisie arrives on the island to bring Dan home, he blames her aloofness for driving him to Tamea and the island. After Maisie tells Dan that she loves him and wants to marry him, he insists that he must sober up and reclaim himself before joining her. Accepting his terms, Maisie leaves him and goes to wait for the return boat home, which will not arrive for one month. One month later, as Maisie stands on the boat’s deck, she starts crying when she sees the now-redeemed Dan walking up the gangplank. When the drunken Porter expresses regret that he does not have the courage to return home, Dan pulls him aboard. As Tamea watches Dan’s boat sail away, she welcomes Tolongo back into her arms. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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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.