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Tiki Central Forums » » General Tiki » » What is the quintessential tiki movie?
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What is the quintessential tiki movie?
bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11244
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2013-06-23 07:07 am   Permalink

Yep, compared to the wild melange of native art in South Seas movies, late 50s/early 60s Tiki bars and were positively scholarly places of research and knowledge regarding Polynesian art.

I like the idea of playing "I.D. the Idol" in Hollywood film sets, let's do it with Hoola Boola!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_NGkqurBq9o

Quote:

On 2013-06-22 22:49, Bruddah Bear wrote:
Pal kept the style close enough that we can see the idols in "Hoola Boola" were inspired by Oceanic cultures.



Well, he certainly had a knack for "primitive art", and the main Idol...


...could be seen as derived from a Solomon Islands canoe prow head:


...which is indeed part of the Oceanic art genre.

But the horns of the idol are more of an African feature:


...and the multiple hands/ arms are more often found in Hindu or Balinese art:


So we must concede that two of three features of this fantasy idol are NOT of Oceanic origin:


This is certainly also true for the other big idol:


...which reminds me more of an African Fang reliquary figure:


The three idols in the middle of the ceremonial plaza are perhaps the most Tiki-like:


...but only because they are so basic in their design. I actually feel hard-pressed to come up with a Polynesian likeness. Perhaps someone can find some Papua New Guinea look-alikes for them? They are more Tiki Modern (i.e. akin to the stylization found by the moderns in primitive art), and in that simplicity not too far from some authentic African masks like this Eastern Nigerian Ijaw water spirit mask either:



Last not least, the jumping witch doctor in the piece:


...is clearly base on a Duk Duk, or more precisely a Vanuatu ceremonial mask:


...which is Oceanic again

Perhaps the title of the film says it best:


While "Hoola" is most likely based on the Hawaiian "Hula", the word "Boola" sounds more African to me
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bob_Cole_(composer)

It is an example of the simplified native gibberish that American pop culture produced for amusement and entertainment:



Hollywood movies took place in the vague territory of the "South Seas", which not only included Polynesia, Micronesia and Melanesia, but also Indonesia and the Philippines, and their art directors, prop makers and costumers borrowed from all these cultures.




...this was still the South Seas!

And how did African art like in Hoola Boola get into the mix? My theory is that, in addition to the much mentioned affinity of artists to ALL primitive art at the time, the less Caucasian-looking natives of Melanesia and their art had a closer likeness to African tribes, and so the geographic borders fell, and cultural authenticity was left behind for dramatic effect.

But American Tiki temples were created at a time when the popularity of Polynesian culture, aided by Hawaii and Kon-Tiki, was much higher, and so the recreations of artifacts they used were actually more "authentic" than most Hollywood productions. Yet still, they had an American spark and style of their own.

Finally, let's not forget one of the main figures in Hoola Boola:


(Actress Martha O’Driscoll with George Pal in the Paramount commisary, with “Sarong-Sarong")

We certainly all know who SHE was based on :




[ This Message was edited by: bigbrotiki 2013-06-23 07:18 ]


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The Blue Kahuna
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Joined: Jun 01, 2011
Posts: 365
From: Points East & West
Posted: 2013-06-23 08:33 am   Permalink

I really like where this thread has gone! The "Name That Influence" photo comparisons are great! Those influences really cover the globe - Africa, Caribbean, Latin America, South Seas . . .

 
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Otto
Grand Member (3 years)  

Joined: Mar 29, 2002
Posts: 863
From: NorCal
Posted: 2013-09-19 11:33 pm   Permalink

So back to the greatest Tiki movie...
of the 1980s is "Back to the Beach" with Frankie and Annette and Connie Stevens
Bridges the generations, has several Tikis and Tiki mugs (Tiki Bob, black Easter Island, pineapple mug), cameos by The Surf Punks (Drew), Fishbone, Dick Dale, Pee Wee Herman, Rodney Bingenheimer, Gilligan (Bob Denver) & The Skipper too, Beaver Cleaver, Edd Kookie Byrnes, and more.

soundtrack includes "Lonely Bull" by Herb. I've already stated the connection between Herb and Exotica. Soundtrack kept alive Surf and Frat rock during the 1980s when NEW music was all that mattered.

These are just two of the Tiki sightings in the movie






 
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Otto
Grand Member (3 years)  

Joined: Mar 29, 2002
Posts: 863
From: NorCal
Posted: 2013-09-19 11:42 pm   Permalink

...and Gary Usher consulted for music, and long time Tiki fan Mark Cunningham was part of the "Ocean crew"

 
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Otto
Grand Member (3 years)  

Joined: Mar 29, 2002
Posts: 863
From: NorCal
Posted: 2014-05-10 10:21 am   Permalink

watching TV this weekend I saw two more movies with Tikis in them
Orgazmo with Ron Jeremy apparently re-enacting "The World's Largest Gangbang" scene with two large painted Tikis and a palm tree on a porn set.



The Cabinet of Caligari 1962
In the sadistic doctor's office there is a two foot tall Ku statue on the credenza
This is not his office but a cool picture that gives you an idea of the vibe


 
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PabTiki
Tiki Centralite

Joined: May 01, 2014
Posts: 54
From: In Los Angeles, from New Orleans
Posted: 2014-05-10 12:06 pm   Permalink

Quote:

The Cabinet of Caligari 1962



Ah, I think I'll rent The Cabinet of Caligari!

I've been looking for a tiki movie that isn't campy, which apparently is a hard thing to find.

And not rockabilly, or surf, or beehives and horn-rims, which to me aren't tiki, just from periods / interests that coincide with it.

(Sort of like parrot-headism has certain elements in common, but-that-certainly-doesn't-make-it-tiki!)

Just one dullard's (i.e. my) opinion. : )






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PabTiki
Tiki Centralite

Joined: May 01, 2014
Posts: 54
From: In Los Angeles, from New Orleans
Posted: 2014-05-10 12:11 pm   Permalink

Another of my pet peeves is the equation of "tiki" and "kitsch."

"Tiki" is a style.

"Kitsch" is a subjective evaluation. (And not a very flattering one.)

Even this article in Honolulu Magazine has "kitsch" and "tacky" in the title. Says who?

http://www.honolulumagazine.com/Honolulu-Magazine/January-2012/The-Tiki-Tribe/

It depends on how good a job you do, doesn't it?

To the credit of the commenters (and tiki culture in general), no one calls out or "flames" the writer.

Which is sort of nice and touching.


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TikiTacky
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Joined: Nov 23, 2010
Posts: 1310
Posted: 2014-05-10 12:29 pm   Permalink

Kitsch is a funny word. On the one hand, it's used as a pejorative term that generally means ugly or cheesy. But it's also evolved into its own sort of cultural style as well. Wikipedia defines it as "a low-brow style of mass-produced art or design using popular or cultural icons. Kitsch generally includes unsubstantial or gaudy works or decoration, or works that are calculated to have popular appeal."

If one looks at the origins of tiki, that pretty much fits the bill. Tiki "artifacts" were generally mass produced—much of it overseas—and it sprouted from the collective psyche of the time. It wasn't generally gaudy, since the origins were Polynesian native art and nautical, and they tended to have a rough and hand-crafted quality, but they were certainly calculated to have popular appeal, at least at the time. It now has more crossover with the lowbrow movement, which is counter-culture and specifically not mass appeal, which I think is very interesting.

Although we may all appreciate the artistic sensibility and history behind tiki, to the uninitiated it generally screams tacky due its rough crafted nature and "out-of-date" style. Since it was mass produced, a lot of it has a cheap feel, particularly the later pieces. Anyone who collects tiki mugs will have seen the reaction of disdain from somewhere along the way. I got it just the other day when a woman at a flea market asked what I collected. "You mean those ugly things from Hawaii?" Fine with me; it helps keep the prices down!

[ This Message was edited by: TikiTacky 2014-05-10 12:30 ]


 
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PabTiki
Tiki Centralite

Joined: May 01, 2014
Posts: 54
From: In Los Angeles, from New Orleans
Posted: 2014-05-10 12:51 pm   Permalink

Ha, agreed!

But at the same time, items from IKEA are cheap and mass-produced, but not considered "kitsch."

Posters are "mass-produced ... calculated to have popular appeal," but not "kitsch."

So the standouts, to me, are "low-brow ... unsubstantial or gaudy."

It just seems unfair when I see mugs from people like Gecko / Squid / Munktiki, which to me stand as works of art in their own right. Are they "high" works of art? Who makes that call?

It seems unfair to elevate certain African art forms to the status of "art," and not modern, Oceanic-art-inspired hand-made items simply because they fall under the umbrella of "tiki" (making them automatically "tacky").

Picasso owes much of the "revolutionary" nature of his art DIRECTLY to African and Oceanic forms.

He was an avid collector of of African and Ocean art.

http://www.amazon.com/Picassos-Collection-African-Oceanic-Art/dp/3791336916

So to paint all "tiki" / Oceanic-inspired modern-art-in-a-tiki-style as "tacky" seems a bit of cultural elitism at its finest!



But if it keeps prices of mugs low ... well, maybe I can soften my position until my collection is complete, haha.


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[ This Message was edited by: PabTiki 2014-05-10 12:52 ]


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LostIsland
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Joined: Jul 27, 2012
Posts: 106
Posted: 2014-05-10 2:35 pm   Permalink

"It just seems unfair when I see mugs from people like Gecko / Squid / Munktiki, which to me stand as works of art in their own right. Are they "high" works of art? Who makes that call?"

I agree....

Unfortunately though, any discussion relating to art, culture and the classification of such, is often dominated by folks who behave as though their opinion is the standard by which the universe should be judged. In the end, it boils down to someone's opinion. Many or even most folks may even agree with said opinion. However that doesn't make the opinion more valid, just more popular. It is for this reason that I keep my artwork out of the "art world". When pretension and narcissism rule the scene, what's the point in jumping in?

That's primarily why I like to hear folks discussing what Tiki is to them, because ultimately no individual, group, page or otherwise is really in the position to tell others whether their "opinion" is or isn't valid. Whether one agrees or disagrees is irrelevant to the validity of someone else's opinion. While the elements within (or motivations behind) any particular movement at one particular time can be finite, the way those elements can influence someone's personal Tiki aesthetic is not. I have certainly seen some "Tiki style" that I neither cared for nor felt was consistent with the Tiki movement of the late 50s, however I don't feel comfortable telling these cats that it isn't Tiki based solely on my beliefs, personal experiences or research. It wasn't Tiki to me, but who am I to pretend to define it for the world?

I had a Tiki discussion once and was basically told that my opinion was invalid because someone older held an opposing viewpoint. Age neither ensures truth nor does it prevent inaccuracies. That logic begs the question of whether we should listen to any voice other than the oldest person alive. After all, he is older, so he must be correct about everything he believes, right?
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PabTiki
Tiki Centralite

Joined: May 01, 2014
Posts: 54
From: In Los Angeles, from New Orleans
Posted: 2014-05-10 3:48 pm   Permalink

Thoughtful post! I agree with much of it.

 
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ManFromT.I.K.I.
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Jul 02, 2007
Posts: 76
Posted: 2014-05-18 12:41 pm   Permalink

I don't know if this is the most Tiki, but I recently watched "Green Dolphin Street" (1947). Two sisters, Lana Turner and Donna Reed, fall in love with the same man (yeah, in my dreams). It's largely set in 1840's New Zealand. Maori culture may be a little too far afield(?)b but the sets are great---lots of native carvings everywhere---and the film won an Oscar for special effects (there's a fantastic earthquake scene).

Another one I like is "Honolulu" (1939) starring Eleanor Powell. She gives a tour de force dance performance as part of a very classy Polynesian-themed floor show, complete with a Hawaiian Big Band featuring Andy Iona on steel guitar. Pure island escapist fantasy.


 
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creativenative
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Joined: Feb 17, 2012
Posts: 204
From: Island of O'ahu
Posted: 2014-05-18 3:27 pm   Permalink

Two great movies, Man from T.I.K.I., also great user name by the way. Maori were prolific carvers and I still am amazed how the movie (GREEN DOLPHIN STREET) assembled all this decent Maori art work for a movie filmed in SoCal. Probably trashed everything after filming. Big film that some how got lost in the scuffle. Good that it finally has a DVD release, highly recommended.

The movie HONOLULU has some of the best "Hollywood" hulas, also filmed in SoCal. A good sign of where a South Seas movie was filmed is to check out the ground. Smooth, level & shinny = sound stage .

One of my favorite tiki images is from another Eleanor Powell hula film that was set, not in Hawaii, but on the continent. Here in the film SHIP AHOY, a GIANT imposing Ku tiki idol dominates the shot with the Tommy Dorsey band (also w/a great Buddy Rich drum solo). My favorite rendition of “Hawaiian War Chant”. Oh I wish I could post video clips, but here's a couple screen shots.




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[ This Message was edited by: creativenative 2014-05-20 02:00 ]


 
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ManFromT.I.K.I.
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Jul 02, 2007
Posts: 76
Posted: 2014-05-18 4:11 pm   Permalink

Thanks! I appreciate your insights. Those stills look amazing. Definitely one to watch out for.

 
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