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The Pagan (1929)

Passed | | Drama | 27 April 1929 (USA)
A carefree South Seas native falls for the half-caste ward of a religious white man who desires her for himself.

Director:

W.S. Van Dyke

Writers:

John Russell (from the story by), Dorothy Farnum (scenario) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Ramon Novarro ... Henry Shoesmith, Jr.
Renée Adorée ... Madge
Donald Crisp ... Mr. Roger Slater
Dorothy Janis ... Tito
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

Hail a New Novarro! Entirely different from any of his past triumphs, but a romantic role to match his greatest. (Print Ad- Telegraph and Times Journal,((Dubuque, Iowa)) 8 September 1929) See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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

Quotes

Henry Shoesmith, Jr.: I feel all sick.
Madge: You're in love, you sap!
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Soundtracks

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

 
Ramon Novarro Sings a Pagan Love Song
15 January 2011 | by wes-connorsSee all my reviews

On a picturesque South Seas island, "half-caste" handsome Ramon Novarro (as Henry Shoesmith Jr.) sunbathes on his coconut plantation. Rather than develop the wealth on his estate, Mr. Novarro likes to sing, laugh, and bask in the sunshine. His rendition of "Pagan Love Song" attracts pretty Polynesian Dorothy Janis (as Tito), who is likewise "half white". Ms. Janis tells Novarro, "Your song nice, your face nice, too." The pair frolic romantically, but Janis' guardian is wicked white businessman Donald Crisp (as Roger Slater), who cheats Novarro out of his land, and lusts after his nubile ward...

This late term silent film is nicely preserved, and includes its original "synchronized sound effects" soundtrack. The score, as you'll hear, beautifully matches the lush island location. "The Pagan" found Novarro reaching a new peak of popular appeal, and helped propel him into the "talkie" era. His singing voice recorded well; soon, MGM learned their stars' accents did not concern audiences, who responded to rich speaking voices of all types. Director W.S. Van Dyke and cameraman Clyde De Vinna, who worked together on "White Shadows in the South Seas" (1928), were at their best.

The story seems, in hindsight, to be daring for the time; its balance favors naturalistic Paganism over hypocritical Christianity, but Novarro and the studio easily put "The Pagan" over the top. Of course, the film does not attack religion; the villain is hypocrisy, portrayed as perverted "Christian duty" by Mr. Crisp. Renée Adorée, an leading actress on a career slide, is given a good supporting role as a tarnished white outcast who helps Novarro and Janis. Unfortunately, Ms. Adorée didn't live long enough for a talking pictures success, and the promisingly beautiful Janis soon retired.

******** The Pagan (4/27/29) W.S. Van Dyke ~ Ramon Novarro, Dorothy Janis, Donald Crisp, Renee Adoree


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

None | English | Polynesian

Release Date:

27 April 1929 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Pagan See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$293,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

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

Sound Mix:

Silent (MovieTone) (synchronized music score)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
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