Because there were no sound facilities in Hollywood, Douglas Shearer took the completed silent film to New Jersey, where he added a synchronized music score and sound effects.
The movie was preceded by an exotic prologue "The Tropics" which starred Kenneth Olds, the most famous of all male Hawaiian dancers, and the Brox Sisters from the Ziegfeld Follies. It featured Samoan chieftains, 100 native dancers and instrumentalists of the South Seas Isles who were brought to Hollywood especially for the presentation, and a "Gigantaphone", the largest Victrola in the world. "The Tropics" ran nightly for the duration of the film's engagement.
This was MGM's first sound picture, and premiered in Hollywood at Sid Grauman's Chinese Theater on Friday, 3 Aug 1928.
This was the first movie in which Leo the MGM lion, roared during the introduction.
This was the first sound film exhibited in Lisbon, Portugal, at Royal Cine, Lisbon's largest cinema then, at a special session attended by the President of the Republic, Óscar Fragoso Carmona and a select audience of VIP politicians and artists from various sectors. The session was preceded by a newsreel from MGM, a documentary about the Lisbon dockyards, and various American and French song numbers.
Though the film's credits claim it was shot on location in the Marquesas Islands with 'authentic' islanders, it was actually shot 900 miles away in Tahiti.