Last of the Pagans


1h 12m 1935
Last of the Pagans

Brief Synopsis

Two South Sea islanders fight a series of natural disasters to be together.

Film Details

Also Known As
Mala, Typee
Genre
Romance
Adventure
Release Date
Dec 20, 1935
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
Distribution Company
Loew's Inc.
Country
United States
Location
Tahiti
Screenplay Information
Suggested by the novel Typee by Herman Melville (New York, 1846).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 12m
Sound
Mono (Western Electric Sound System)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
8 reels

Synopsis

As mid-Nineteenth century mating rituals on the islands of the South Pacific dictate, men from one island raid a neighboring island to find wives for themselves. On one such raid, Taro, a native from a nearby Polynesian island, eyes the beautiful Lilleo and asks the chief's permission to take her. As Taro and the men from his island spy on Lilleo and other local women swimming in a pond, local spearmen attack, forcing them to flee. Taro, however, is left behind, and after struggling with Lilleo, who does not wish to go with him, he eventually succeeds in abducting her to his island.

Upon their arrival, Taro takes Lilleo to meet his mother and the rest of his tribe, and she wins their approval despite her continued resistance to Taro's attentions. Lilleo mocks Taro when, at a courting ceremony, he claims to be a mighty hunter, and she tells him that all he is capable of hunting are snails and shrimp. Incensed, Taro leaves to prove his virility by performing acts of courage. He fights with a shark, kills it and brings it home, only to find that Lilleo has run off into the jungle. Taro finds Lilleo under attack by a wild boar and rescues her, thus winning her respect. Shortly before their wedding, Taro, Lilleo and others are invited aboard a ship operated by white slave traders, where Taro is duped into signing a contract that forces him to work as a slave on a mining camp on the island of Patua. Late at night, Taro is separated from Lilleo, who is forced to marry the chief who helped bring Taro to the white slave traders. When Taro rescues a white boss from a mine explosion, he is rewarded for his deed by being reunited with his estranged fiancée.

Soon after their reunion, however, the officials want to send Lilleo back because she is married to Taro's chief, and Lilleo becomes violent. Taro escapes the camp and locates Lilleo on a ship, which becomes caught in a hurricane. Taro races through the capsizing ship searching for his sweetheart and finds her. The two surface to realize that the storm has passed, and an island, where they can begin life anew, looms in the distance.

Film Details

Also Known As
Mala, Typee
Genre
Romance
Adventure
Release Date
Dec 20, 1935
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
Distribution Company
Loew's Inc.
Country
United States
Location
Tahiti
Screenplay Information
Suggested by the novel Typee by Herman Melville (New York, 1846).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 12m
Sound
Mono (Western Electric Sound System)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
8 reels

Articles

Last of the Pagans


Two South Sea islanders fight a series of natural disasters to be together.
Last Of The Pagans

Last of the Pagans

Two South Sea islanders fight a series of natural disasters to be together.

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

Working titles for this film, which was shot on location in Tahiti, were Typee and Mala. Some contemporary reviews list Lotus Long's character as Natita. An April 1935 Daily Variety news item noted that director Richard Thorpe, after looking over the rushes shipped from Tahiti, decided to double the original budget of the film. According to Hollywood Reporter pre-release news items, over 50,000 feet of underwater footage was shot for this film, which had a predicted final cost of $600,000. A September 1935 Hollywood Reporter news item reported that the sixty reels of footage that were shot during twenty-two weeks of active production had been reduced to an eleven reel rough cut. Hollywood Reporter pre-release news items also note that the first thirty reels of film shot on location in Tahiti were shipped back on the same boat that brought the Mutiny on the Bounty (see below) troupe back from the island. Modern sources note that this was director Richard Thorpe's first feature film for M-G-M, after ten years of directing shorts for the studio. Modern sources also indicate that the entire cast, with the exception of Mala and Lotus Long, who were Hollywood players, was comprised of natives from French Polynesia. According to the file for Last of the Pagans in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library, the film was rejected by censors in Germany. In France, censors deleted the insert acknowledging the cooperation of the Tahitian government authorities in making the film, and replaced it with a statement "...advising that the film is based on past customs which will never return because of more humane laws now in existence." The French censors also deleted scenes showing natives being contracted to five years of hard labor. In addition, censors in Quebec and Alberta eliminated the scene of a native woman nursing a baby, and Maryland censors deleted the scene of a rat running among people aboard a ship.