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Maui Pop Culture

Maui is not often a tempting setting for books or an inspiring landscape hook in movies, but the Valley Isle does get around the media world now and then. If you’re looking for Maui-focused folklore check out, "Maui: Mischief Maker" by Dietrich Varez for stories about the life and tomfoolery attributed to the island demi-god, Maui.

"How Maui Slowed the Sun," by Suelyn Ching Tune, is a colorful children’s book of what mischievous Maui did to help his mother get her chores done.

"Hawaii," by James A. Michener may be one of Hawaii’s most famous tomes and although it does not focus on Maui specifically, it does discuss special places on the island that caught the author’s eye for its beauty, while delving into the history and cultural clashes between the missionaries and the native Hawaiian people. It was made into a feature film in 1966, directed by George Roy Hill and starring Julie Andrews, Max von Sydow, Richard Harris and Gene Hackman. A sequel, "The Hawaiians," came out in 1970 starring Charlton Heston and Geraldine Chaplin, and worked with the book’s later chapters that covered Chinese and Japanese immigration to Hawaii and the growth of the plantations.

Maui can take background credits for a slew of other films. "The Devil at 4 O'Clock" (1961) used Lahaina as the setting for a film that starred Spencer Tracy and Frank Sinatra as two men at odds, living on the island of "Talua.”  "Papillion" (1973), about an impossible escape from a French prison in the Caribbean, was filmed mostly in Jamaica, but had several sequences taken in Maui, as did "Baraka" (1992 - filmed on the rim of Haleakula). Most recently, "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End" (2007) married Maui with Johnny Depp in several key scenes.