Laughing Boy, is a Navaho from a remote part of the reservation, while Slim Girl was raised by whites in a town and lives as a white man's mistress. They meet at a pow-wow and marry, in ... See full summary »
W.S. Van Dyke
William B. Davidson
Henry, the pagan son of a white father and native mother, has inherited land and a store, but he prefers the simple life. When he falls in love with a native girl, her guardian, who is trying to bring her up as a 'proper' Christian, but who also lusts after her himself, plots to keep them apart. Written by
Henry Shoesmith is THE PAGAN, a happy, handsome half-caste, perfectly attune with his South Seas home. Henry is also the owner of the largest cocoanut plantation on the island, which arouses the greed of an unscrupulous white trader with a beautiful native 'ward'...
Ramon Novarro is charming in this, his final silent film. Once again, MGM has their Mexican star playing another in his wide range of ethnic roles. Here he is a Polynesian, but he plays his part so well, and is obviously having such a good time, that he gives one of his most entertaining of performances.
He is served well by his excellent supporting cast. Dorothy Janis is Novarro's beautiful love interest - innocent, vulnerable & passionately in love. Donald Crisp is superb as the villainous white trader, consumed with lust for the girl he calls his 'Christian duty' and embittered with hatred for Novarro. His final fate is most proper & welcome. Renée Adorée scores as the island harlot, a staunch friend to both Novarro & Janis.
Directed by peripatetic W. S. Van Dyke, the location filming in & around Papeete, Tahiti enhances the story greatly.
Coming as it did at the very cusp of the new talkie era, this is essentially a silent film with an effective soundtrack that includes musical interludes & background dialogue. Novarro croons 'Pagan Love Song' (by Nacio Herb Brown & Arthur Freed) to good effect - giving Hollywood one of its first hit tunes - and his fine singing voice would be heard again in forthcoming films.
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