The Rescue 1928

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South Sea village at Prisoners' Harbor,
Santa Cruz Island, 1928

THE RESCUE was filmed, in part, on Santa Cruz Island in 1928, and based on the 1920 novel by Ukraine-born author, Joseph Conrad (1857-1924). Samuel Goldwyn’s Hollywood studio made the book into a film which starred Ronald Colman and Lily Damita, French film star who was making her first American picture. The studio transported 17 tons of equipment and supplies to Ira Eaton’s camp at Pelican Bay. Eleven cottages, seventeen tents and a number of open air beds were required to accommodate the 150 plus crew, with the overflow being housed at Prisoners’ Harbor. Filming took place at Prisoners’ Harbor where a faux Malaysian Village was erected, simulating a South Sea island paradise. A few cultivated banana slips and palm trees from the set were transplanted and survive at the island’s Main Ranch. The film was released January 12, 1929, runs 96 minutes. Although it is a silent film, it has synchronized music and sound effects. Today only an incomplete print exists in the collection of the International Museum of Photography and Film at George Eastman House.

In the News~

July 11, 1928 [SMBP]: “Chris De Rode, about 60 years old, seaman on the schooner Irene, owned by the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer motion picture concern thought to be in a dying condition after a fall down the companion ladder on the boat, was rushed by power boat and police ambulance to St. Francis Hospital early this morning. De Rode fractured his skull in the fall, according to headquarters. Later at the hospital it was said that until a close examination was made, it would be impossible to determine the chances for De Rode’s recovery. The accident happened while the schooner was off the coast of Santa Cruz Island. The motion picture concern has a camp on the island, where the scenes for The Rescue are being made.”

July 12, 1928 [SBMP]: “At an inquest into the death of Chris De Rode, 60 years old, a seaman on the schooner Irene, a coroner’s jury last night returned a verdict of death by accident. Mr. De Rode fell down a companion way on the schooner, which is being used by Samuel Goldwyn moving picture company on location on Santa Cruz Island, and suffered a fractured skull from which he died in the St. Francis Hospital. Mr. De Rode was hurried to the mainland in a speedboat and was taken to the hospital in the police ambulance. Other seamen told of seeing Mr. De Rode start to mount the stairs to the deck, but said that no one actually saw him fall. The inquest was held in the McDermott funeral chapel from where the body will be sent to San Pedro for burial today.”