Set in World War I-era Africa, it tells the tale of Dawn, a tribal woman in love with a British soldier but chosen to be the sacrificial bride of a god. The film was originally shot and released entirely in color, but color prints were lost.
Talkie Era musicals were usually all-star revues or tales of backstage heartache and triumph. Golden Dawn - based on a 184-performance 1927 operetta co-created by Oscar Hammerstein II - ambitiously breaks free of those musical confines to expand the genre's cinematic reach. Set in World War I-era Africa, it tells the tale of Dawn, a tribal woman in love with a British soldier but chosen to be the sacrificial bride of a god.
Stage sensation Vivienne Segal (perhaps best known for starring opposite Gene Kelly in 1940 Broadway's Pal Joey) portrays Dawn. The film was originally shot and released entirely in color (another example of the production team's ambitiousness), but color prints have unfortunately long been lost.
A failure of near epic proportions when first released and an unintentionally funny disaster today, this bizarre operetta almost single-handedly destroyed the musical genre for years to come. Vivienne Segal stars as Dawn, a white girl presumed to be born among the natives in what was once Dutch East Africa. Set in a German prisoner of war camp during World War I, GOLDEN DAWN presents a truce between captors and captives who are facing a common danger: the threat of an uprising among the native African population. The threat becomes almost a certainty when young rubber planter Tom Allen (Walter Woolf King) spends a romantic night with Dawn. That doesn't sit well with Shep Keyes (Noah Beery), a native brute who covets Dawn, despite the fact that she is promised to the god Mulunghu. To quell an almost certain riot among the natives, Tom is sent home to England. The British soon recapture the area and Keyes demands that Dawn be sacrificed to the god Mulunghu to ward off a potentially calamitous drought. Tom, meanwhile, having learned that Dawn is indeed Caucasian, kidnapped by Mooda (Alice Gentle) in childhood and raised as her own, rushes back to the camp just in time to rescue the girl from the evil Keyes.
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