Locations Magazine April 2005
BALI - Location of Hollywood’s Last Silent Film
Bali, Indonesia was the setting for the last silent film ever
produced in Hollywood and the last film to use the two-strip
Released by Paramount International in 1935, Henri de la Falaise’s
“Legong: Dance of the Virgins”, was originally only shown outside
the USA due to concerns about female nudity in the film and the
uproar it would cause.
Married to silver screen legend Gloria Swanson from 1925-31, she
described Faliaise as the love of her life and the abortion of his
child in 1928 at the height of her fame one of her greatest
Long inspired by Bali as a place of sensuality, mystery, romance,
and adventure, Hollywood first filmed “Goona Goona” on the island in
Shot by Andre Roosevelt (US President Theodore Roosevelt’s nephew),
“Goona Goona” was originally released in two-color Technicolor and
one of the last films released with unsynchronized sound track.
Finally in the late 1930's both “Legong” and “Goona Goona” were
shown in cinemas in Hollywood and New York City attracting thousands
to see bare breasted native girls.
These films helped launch Bali as a free loving paradise for a host
of Hollywood trendsetters including, Water Spies, artist-musician
and homosexual lover of director F.W. Murnau (“Nosferatu” 1924),
renowned playwright Noel Coward, Woolworth heiress Barbara Hutton,
and silent screen star Charlie Chaplin who is quoted as saying “if
it comes to the worst, we’ll go to Bali”.
It also resulted in the opening of a Gay nightclub in New York City
called Goona Goona in 1927.
This popularity prompted Roosevelt and M.J. Minas, an Armenian film
showman, to establish Thomas Cook and American Express offices on
Bali in 1924.
Since then Bali has continued to be an artistic and spiritual haven
for celebrities from around the world and a magnet for filmmakers of
Just completing two months filming on Bali and neighboring of island
Lombok is director Marc Esposito’s "Toute la Beaute’ du Monde"
(Pierre Javaux Production) starring Marc Lavoine and Zoe Felix.
Discussions are presently underway with Kennedy Miller (“Babe”, “Mad
Max”) to film the Australian thriller "Mango River", and next year
Kalimantan (Borneo) will be the setting for LeBrocquyFraser (2004
Golden Globe Award Winners “Osama”) production of "Almayer's Folly"
based on Joseph Conrad’s 1850s novel and starring Harvey Keitel.