Tiara Tahiti

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Tiara Tahiti
Tiara Tahiti.jpg
Belgian theatrical poster
Directed by Ted Kotcheff
Written byGeoffrey Cotterell
Ivan Foxwell
Produced byIvan Foxwell
Starring James Mason
John Mills
Rosenda Monteros
Cinematography Otto Heller
Edited by Antony Gibbs
Music by Philip Green
The Rank Organisation
Ivan Foxwell Productions
Release date
Running time
100 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom
Budget£500,000 [1]

Tiara Tahiti is a 1962 British comedy-drama film directed by Ted Kotcheff and starring James Mason and John Mills. [2] Kotcheff's directorial debut, it is based on the novel by Geoffrey Cotterell, who also adapted it for the screen with Ivan Foxwell. [3] [4]



Clifford Southey is a clerk at a brokerage firm who is promoted to lieutenant colonel during the war. His subordinate officer, Captain Brett Aimsley, was a partner at Southey's firm. Popular and charismatic, Capt. Aimsley is everything Col. Southey is not, but aspires to be. Unfortunately money is Aimsley's weakness. His profligacy sees him removed from Southey's command.

Some time after the war, Aimsley's comfortable exile in Tahiti is rudely interrupted by the arrival of his old adversary, now director of a hotel chain looking to expand into the burgeoning South Seas market.



It was filmed in London and Tahiti. [4] [5]


Box Office

According to Kinematograph Weekly the film was considered a "money maker" at the British box office in 1962. [6]

Critical reception

Monthly Film Bulletin said "With a TV reputation for slick, hard-hitting and technically adventurous productions behind him, it might have been expected that William Kotcheff would have brought some of these qualities to his first commercial feature. Unhappily, the film bears all the hallmarks of the standard Rank production; if there was any freshness of approach in Kotcheff's original conception, it has now been successfully ironed away. Essentially an actor's vehicle (resembling, at times, a South Sea island version of Tunes of Glory [1960]), the story needs much firmer and subtler handling than it receives here; veering uneasily between military satire and character drama, it scarcely convinces on either level. But it has two meaty parts and James Mason, with his practised charm and irony, brings just the right weight to his role. John Mills, on the other hand, is encouraged to over-act and, surely, it was a mistake to give him two lengthy face-to-camera monologues, especially when the situations are so overblown. After the protracted opening sequences, the Tahitian locations seem like a breath of fresh air yet, even here, neither camerawork, colour nor direction make much of the material." [7]

In The New York Times , Bosley Crowther called it "lush, foolish, sometimes funny ... splotchy entertainment that is, at least, colorful". [8]

Variety wrote "The two male stars in this pic have a field day. Mason is fine as the mocking wastrel while Mills is equally good in a more difficult role that could have lapsed into parody. These two carry the main burden of the film" [9]

The Radio Times Guide to Films gave the film 2/5 stars, writing: "Director Ted Kotcheff's feature debut is an adequate showcase for the talents of James Mason and John Mills. Nobody can smarm like Mason and he breezes through the picture, as a cultured crook who sees Mills's arrival on Tahiti to negotiate a hotel del as the chance to pay him back for his being cashiered at the end of the war. Mills occasionally struggles to convince in the more difficult role, not always managing to keep the lid on his histrionics." [10]

Time Out found it an "uneven mix of character study and situation comedy". [11]

Leslie Halliwell said: "Uneasy mixture of light comedy and character drama; enjoyable in parts, but flabbily assembled and muddily photographed." [12]

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  1. "Satirical City". Evening Standard. 19 January 1962. p. 10.
  2. "Tiara Tahiti". British Film Institute Collections Search. Retrieved 15 November 2023.
  3. "Tiara Tahiti (1962) - Ted Kotcheff | Synopsis, Characteristics, Moods, Themes and Related | AllMovie" via www.allmovie.com.
  4. 1 2 "Tiara Tahiti (1962)". BFI. Archived from the original on 5 May 2019.
  5. "Previously Shot (media film in tahiti content)".
  6. Billings, Josh (13 December 1962). "Three British Films Head the General Releases". Kinematograph Weekly. p. 7. Retrieved 7 March 2023.
  7. "Tiara Tahiti". Monthly Film Bulletin . 29 (336): 92. 1962 via ProQuest.
  8. Crowther, Bosley (6 November 1963). "Screen: 'Tiara Tahiti':John Mills and James Mason Star in Farce". The New York Times via NYTimes.com.
  9. "Tiara Tahiti". Variety. 1 January 1962.
  10. Radio Times Guide to Films (18th ed.). London: Immediate Media Company. 2017. p. 938. ISBN   9780992936440.
  11. "Tiara Tahiti". Time Out Worldwide.
  12. Halliwell, Leslie (1989). Halliwell's Film Guide (7th ed.). London: Paladin. p. 1030. ISBN   0586088946.