The Pagan (1929) - Plot Summary Poster



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  • 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.

  • On the western colonized Paumotu Islands in the South Pacific, Henry Shoesmith, Jr., the son of a British father and Polynesian mother, owns and operates the islands' largest coconut plantation. Living on the island, he inherited more of the Polynesian sensibility of his background, he preferring to enjoy the easygoing, relaxed way of island life more than he is concerned about the rigors of business and making money. One day while he is relaxing outside with his friend Madge, he hears from offshore a response to his singing, he falling in love with what he knows is the native voice, then the being attached to the voice. She is Tito, the biracial ward of white trader Roger Slater. Believing the natives to be inferior, Slater, as is his Christian duty, has taken Tito in to transform her into a fully white woman, he not admitting to the world that he is in love with her himself. Slater, beyond he dealing in copra, takes a dislike to Henry both as a native - if even only half so - and in his interest in Tito. Henry, in wanting to curry favor with Slater because of Tito, makes a more than generous business deal with Slater, not knowing that Slater, in his multi-faceted sensibilities, not only wants to take advantage of that business deal, but also would like to ruin Henry to show his superiority to Tito. Madge, who is in love with Henry herself but knows that nothing will ever happen between them with her as a fallen single woman, does whatever she can to assist in the course of true love between Henry and Tito. Slater, in response, will stop at nothing to get rid of Henry to have Tito all for himself.

  • 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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