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Siren of the Tropics

Directed by Mario Nalpas, Henri Etievant

Release: 1927
Runtime: 86
Country: France
Language: Silent w/English intertitles

Available only as a fragment for decades, Siren of the Tropics is Josephine Baker’s feature film debut. Made in 1927, around the time Josephine was making a Paris splash as a Folies Bergère star, Siren establishes the rags to riches, fairy tale template from which her subsequent films would be cut.

Josephine plays Papitou, a free-spirited, animal-loving native girl who falls in love with Andre, a sophisticated young man who has been sent to the Parisian Antilles as a prospector. She is unaware that he is betrothed to another, or that his work assignment is actually a perilous ruse concocted by his scheming boss. As the truth becomes known, Papitou finds herself pursuing Andre back to Paris, where fate intervenes. Will Papitou's new job as a music hall performer (a natural role for La Baker) bring the romantic resolution she so desperately desires?

Though silent, Siren of the Tropics abounds with musical energy, aided in no small part by Josephine Baker's innate screen magnetism. The film contains perhaps her greatest dance work on celluloid, the frenetic "Charleston."

The supplemental material on this DVD contains scenes of nudity. Viewer discretion is advised.

Music Composed and Performed by Donald Sosin

Licensed by Lobster Films

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Technical Info

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Color: Tinted B&W