Human Studies Film Archives

Guide to the The Tahitian, 1956


Collection ID:
Long, Lotus
Knott, James
Physical Description:
8 Film reels
2 hours 57 minutes
color sound; 6,375 feet

Scope and Contents

Scope and Contents
Edited film is a theatrical production filmed in Tahiti using Tahitians in the cast. Film was produced and created by Hollywood cameraman James Knott and his wife, actress Lotus Long. Story involves scientists trying to stop a filaria epidemic spreading through a local population. The doctors try to use western medicine to combat the disease but meet resistence from the local medicine man and chief. The chief's son falls ill from the parasitic worm which causes the disease and negative attitudes quickly change. The young man is cured. Film also includes Tahitian dance and music.
Collection contains supplementary materials, namely associated texts (written narration).
Please note that the contents of the collection and the language and terminology used reflect the context and culture of the time of its creation. As an historical document, its contents may be at odds with contemporary views and terminology and considered offensive today. The information within this collection does not reflect the views of the Smithsonian Institution or Anthropology Archives, but is available in its original form to facilitate research.


Immediate Source of Acquisition
Received from Ryon Rickard in 1994.

Using the Collection

Conditions Governing Access
The collection is open for research. Please contact the archives for information on availability of access copies of audiovisual recordings. Original audiovisual material in the Human Studies Film Archives may not be played.
Conditions Governing Use
Contact the repository for terms of use.
Preferred Citation
The Tahitian, Human Studies Film Archives, Smithsonian Institution

More Information

Local Numbers

Local Numbers
HSFA 1994.5.1


Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
French Polynesia Geographic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Tahiti (French Polynesia : Island) Geographic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sound films Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Fiction films Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Human Studies Film Archives
Museum Support Center
4210 Silver Hill Road
Suitland 20746