Thunder Over Hawaii, originally Naked Paradise (January 1, 1957)
Released on January 1, 1957: A gangster's girlfriend falls for a boat charter captain in Hawaii and he tries to help her get away from her gangster boyfriend.
Produced by Roger Corman
Directed by Roger Corman
Written by Charles B. Griffith and Mark Hanna
The Actors: Richard Denning (Duke Bradley), Beverly Garland (Max MacKenzie), Lisa Montell (Lanai), Dick Miller (Mitch), Leslie Bradley (Zach 'King' Cotton), Jonathan Haze (Stony Gratoni), Samuel Z. Arkoff (Sam at the Luau), Roger Corman (office worker who gets robbed), Johnny Kieoni (Kieoni), Carol Lindsay (Luau dancer)
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Trouble in Paradise
Hawaii was an independent territory protected by the United States until it became our 50th state in 1959. In 1956 Roger Corman produced two films on the Hawaiian Islands at the same time. He named one film ‘Shark Island,’ but before being released in 1958 the name was changed to She Gods of Shark Island, even though there were no ‘she-gods’ in the story. This movie, filmed at the same time, was titled ‘Naked Paradise’ – but that name was then changed to ‘Thunder over Hawaii’ - One movie name was made more erotic, and the other was made less erotic.
In this tropical adventure we discover that Duke Bradley owns a charter boat and his passengers are gangster Zack 'King' Cotton, his ‘secretary’ and two henchmen. After enjoying a night of luau and island girls dancing the henchmen rob the plantation payroll before getting on the charter boat and heading for another island in the Hawaiian chain.
The gangster’s secretary/girlfriend is actress Beverly Garland. After filming this movie she became the first female lead in a police drama in the independently produced Decoy: Police Woman. Her husband Richard Garland was an actor, and his devotion to Beverly was so great that he purchased and named a hotel in North Hollywood ‘The Beverly Garland’ and that hotel is still owned by her family today: The Garland Hotel website
Duke Bradley, the leading man who chartered his boat to the gangsters is played by Richard Denning. Denning never became a super-star but was always pleased that he earned enough and enjoyed the work enough to have a rewarding life. He starred with Lucille Ball in a CBS radio show named My Favorite Husband, but when the network offered Lucille Ball and Richard Denning a television situation comedy, she insisted that they use her husband Ricky Ricardo instead of Richard Denning.
CBS then teamed Richard Denning with Barbara Britton in a light-hearted detective show called Mr. and Mrs. North. Sometime after filming this movie in Hawaii, Richard Denning moved his family to the islands, and later made guest appearances on the original Hawaii Five-O television show.
The main storyline for this adventure is the attempt of the gangsters to escape the islands with the loot that they stole without getting caught. Denning and his charter boat manage to get them to another island far from the one where they robbed the plantation payroll, but while waiting for a large schooner to pick them up and take them to the Philippines, a hurricane sweeps over the island with thundering force, and their escape may not be as easy as they think. Pop a big bowl of white kernel popcorn with plenty of warm melted butter drizzled over it and enjoy the show.
Beverly Garland and Dick Miller
Beverly Garland, Jonathan Haze and Dick Miller
Beverly Garland and Richard Denning
Dick Miller, Johnny Kieoni and Lisa Montell
Dick Miller, Leslie Bradley and Jonathan Haze
Dick Miller and Lisa Montell
Johnny Kieoni and Dick Miller
Jonathan Haze, Carol Lindsay and Dick Miller
Jonathan Haze and Dick Miller
Leslie Bradley and Richard Denning play Parcheesi
Leslie Bradley and Richard Denning
Lisa Montell and Dick Miller
Lisa Montell and Johnny Kieoni
Richard Denning and Lisa Montell
Richard Denning and Leslie Bradley
Samuel Z. Arkoff and Richard Denning