Filmed on location in Tahiti, this unique drama combining documentary sensibilities with grand Hollywood storytelling explores the tolls that Western "civilization"--drugs, alcohol, prostitution--take on the natives of a Polynesian island. Matthew Lloyd (Monte Blue) has drifted away from a respectable career as a physician and lives a mediocre existence on a Polynesian island where pearl trader Sebastian (Robert Anderson) and his associates recklessly exploit the natives who work for them as divers. After falling in love with a native girl (Raquel Torres) and witnessing the appalling consequences of modern life on the local population, Matthew vehemently condemns Sebastian's greed and ruthlessness but meets serious opposition. The film is one of the first to use sound. It won an Academy Award for Best Cinematography. Based on the novel by Frederick O'Brien.