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The Pagan (1929)

Passed  -  Drama  -  27 April 1929 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 221 users  
Reviews: 15 user | 2 critic

A carefree South Seas native falls for the half-caste ward of a religious white man who desires her for himself.



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Title: The Pagan (1929)

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Complete credited cast:
Henry Shoesmith, Jr.
Renée Adorée ...
Mr. Roger Slater
Dorothy King ...
Tito (as Dorothy Janis)


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 David Eickemeyer

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

native | christian | racism | church | trader | See more »




Passed | See all certifications »




Release Date:

27 April 1929 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Pagan  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (Turner library print) | (Turner Library print) (19. (silent)

Sound Mix:

(MovieTone) (synchronized music score)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


"Produced and photographed in the Paumotu Islands of the South Seas." See more »


Jesus Loves Me
(1860) (uncredited)
Music by William B. Bradbury (1862)
Lyrics by Anna B. Warner (1860) and David Rutherford McGuire
Sung by the church congregation in their native language
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User Reviews

Romance and racism in the South Seas
10 November 2010 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Slacker Henry Shoesmith (Ramon Novarro), the product of a white father and native mother has inherited a business he couldn't care less about. He'd rather pass his days taking in the beauty he was surrounded by on his South Sea island. When devious capitalist Roger Slater (Donald Crisp) shows up with his beautiful charge in tow to exploit the island Shoesmith's world is thrown into turmoil. With all his attention on Tito he ignores his business and Slater uses the opportunity to ruin him. Forever the romantic, Henry's is more concerned with the pursuit of Tito allowing him to become vulnerable to the iniquitous Slater whose designs of Christian salvation for Tito have given way to carnal cravings.

This silent made after the advent of sound film clumsily adds some out of sync singing (the immortal Pagan Love Song) to remain au courant but it is a catchy tune and not much of a distraction from the beautiful Tahitian landscape in which the naive lovers reside.

Novarro's disposition of child like innocence and laid back style fronted by his killer looks and smile charm you into his corner from beginning to end. A handsome Harpo, he is more sweet than seductive, displaying a talent for slapstick that makes him impossible to dislike. Dislike is all one can feel for the greedy, vengeful and hypocritical Slater. Crisp picks up where he left off as a racist lout in Broken Blossoms turning on a dime to gain and maim when needed. Bedecked in a white suit, earring and snarling most of the time Crisp's effective silent heavies totally belies the wise patient grandfatherly parts that would mark his sound period. Loudly attired Renee Adoree as a prostitute with principles has some fine scenes and serves as an ironic counterpoint to the hypocritical but respectable Slater.

With the vile Slater as a punching bag The Pagan reveals some ugly truths about western society but Novarro's irrepressible boyish charm keeps it upbeat most of the way. I would also add the warning that for a 48 hour period and perhaps longer you will not be able to get The Pagan Love Song melody out of your mind.

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