Donavan’s Reef is the 1963 comedy starring John Wayne and directed by John Ford. Michael “Guns” Donavan needs to do a big favor for Dr. William Dedham. He has to pretend that the doc’s three mixed race kids are his because his long lost daughter Amelia is coming to French Polynesia. She came to do a background check on her father, since he has inherited stocks. If he is “morally deficient,” she gets control of the stock. However, life in the islands is not what she thinks it is. She slowly pieces together the truth while dealing with Donavan, whom she is both annoyed at and attracted to. What will happen once the truth is revealed?
This is a pretty good comedy. It’s not surprising that they may have kept the kids paternity secret, since back in those days it was considered “evil” for white people to have relationships with other ethnic groups. Luckily, Amelia turns out to be much more open minded than we thought and embrace them in a truly moving scene. Tropical paradise clichés do abound, making the movie a little cheesy. Donavan and Amelia’s relationship is not bad, if a little screwed up by today’s standards. Honolulu John Wayne fans should rent this movie first.
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