Ricardo, a young law student in his home town of Madrid, is a carefree playboy who loves nightclubs and courting pretty girls. His father hopes to instill a more serious attitude in his son... See full summary »
Robert Z. Leonard
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
A number of the shooting locations on the main island of Tahiti can be figured out by plotting their relationship to the nearby island of Moorea, which is clearly visible in a number of scenes. See more »
"And We'll Cheer Each Other, With The Pagan Love Song"
Woody Van Dyke captained an entire MGM crew for a location shooting in Tahiti for The Pagan where Ramon Novarro made his sound debut. This film was done like Warner Brothers The Jazz Singer where it was silent except for Al Jolson's musical numbers and some introductory dialog to one of them.
Novarro looked properly exotic and did exhibit a pleasant singing voice when he sang one of the first songs ever written expressly for the screen, Nacio Herb Brown's and Arthur Freed's The Pagan Love Song which was a big hit in 1929. Novarro sang in a few of his sound films after The Pagan.
Ramon plays a half Caucasian, half Tahitian lad who owns some land and a store courtesy of his white father, but prefers the lazy life the natives enjoy. Donald Crisp is a white trader with young native ward Dorothy Janis. Novarro and she are attracted to each other, but Crisp wants her brought up as a proper Christian and doesn't want her associating with her own kind. Actually he's got quite the yen himself for her.
At the same time The Pagan was being filmed Rain was on stage in the legitimate theater. The influence that W. Somerset Maugham's classic about the South Seas and particularly that of the character of Reverend Davidson on Crisp's screen persona is unmistakable.
Woody Van Dyke did a fine job of direction with his cast which also included Renee Adoree. He would soon be going to Africa for a trouble plagued shoot in Trader Horn, probably on the success he had bringing in this film shot in faraway places.
The Pagan holds up well and it's a piece of screen history besides.
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