Last of the Pagans (1935)

70, 72 or 80 mins | Drama | 20 December 1935

Director:

Richard Thorpe

Producer:

Phil Goldstone

Cinematographer:

Clyde De Vinna

Editor:

Martin G. Cohn

Production Designer:

Cedric Gibbons

Production Company:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
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HISTORY

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 Apr 1935 DV 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 HR 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 Sep 1935 HR 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. HR 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 ... More Less

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 Apr 1935 DV 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 HR 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 Sep 1935 HR 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. HR 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. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
LOCATION
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
23 Jan 35
p. 2.
Daily Variety
13 Apr 35
p. 2.
Daily Variety
5 Dec 35
p. 3.
Film Daily
11 Dec 35
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
17 Nov 34
p. 20.
Hollywood Reporter
4 Feb 35
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Feb 35
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
10 Apr 35
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
15 Apr 35
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
20 Apr 35
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
5 Aug 35
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
12 Aug 35
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
16 Sep 35
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
1 Nov 35
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
5 Dec 35
p. 3.
Motion Picture Daily
6 Dec 35
p. 13.
Motion Picture Herald
14 Dec 35
p. 62.
New York Times
9 Jan 36
p. 25.
New York Times
8-Feb-35
---
Variety
15 Jan 36
p. 19.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITERS
Orig story and scr
PHOTOGRAPHY
Operative cam
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir assoc
Art dir assoc
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
MUSIC
Mus score
Orig mus by
Orig mus by
Orig mus by
Orig mus by
Orig mus by
Orig mus by
SOUND
Rec dir
SOURCES
LITERARY
Suggested by the novel Typee by Herman Melville (New York, 1846).
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Mala
Typee
Release Date:
20 December 1935
Production Date:
23 January--early August 1935
added scenes completed 1 November 1935
Copyright Claimant:
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
Copyright Date:
27 December 1935
Copyright Number:
LP6058
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Sound System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
70, 72 or 80
Length(in reels):
8
Country:
United States
Languages:
English, Polynesian
PCA No:
1729
Passed by NBR:
Yes
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 ... +


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. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.