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Legong, Dance of the Virgins (1935)

Director: Marquis Henry de la Falaise, Marquis Henry de la Falaise
    see all cast/crew...
Rating: Not Rated
Studio: Image, Image Entertainment
Genre: Classics, Classic Romance, Documentary
Languages: English

Best known as one of Gloria Swanson's former husbands, the Marquis de la Falaise proved that he'd picked up some show-business acumen during his Hollywood years by producing the Technicolor docudrama Legong, Dance of Virgins. Filmed on location on the island of Bali, the story concerns a benighted romance between an island maiden named Poutou and her boyfriend Njong. When he throws her over in favor of her half-sister, the distraught Poutou drowns herself. Before this happens, however, she participates in the traditional Balinese dance of the virgins (hence the film's title). Perhaps she should have remembered the ancient island prophecy "Should love enter thine eyes and go to the heart, beware, for should he whom thou choosest not return thy love, thy gods will frown and disgrace will befall thee" (Believe it or not, that line is in the picture!) Like most South Seas "documentaries" of the period, Legong, Dance of the Virgins featured enough bare-breasted females to keep the male moviegoers from dozing off. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Staff Pick: Legong, Dance of the Virgins was one of the great DVD re-discoveries this past year, thanks to Milestone Films and UCLA's Film & Television Archives. A luscious cinematic miracle, shot in beautiful two-color Technicolor in 1935, the disc now includes a wonderful new score by Richard Marriott and I Made Subandi and performed by members of the Gamelan Sekar Jaya and the Club Foot Orchestra. Even though the film was banned in many countries and censored for years, it features kind of nudity more appealing to anthropologists. But as an artifact of Balinese culture, it is also a wonder to behold, with the Romeo-and-Juliet-ish story compelling enough, too. With the music, the dancing, and the fascinating footage, the film is, in short, a one-of-a-kind miracle. Also of note, the extras include an oddly compelling hour-long documentary "Gods of Bali," and 50-minute black-and-white "Kliou the Killer," shot in Vietnam in 1937 by the man who directed Legong. - Tamara Lees

GreenCine Member Ratings

Legong, Dance of the Virgins (1935)
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6.73 (22 votes)
Legong, Dance of the Virgins (Bonus Disc) (1935)
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7.00 (1 votes)

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