Pagan Love Song (1950)

Movie


Pagan Love Song (1950)

The bronzed and be-flowered Mimi, a half-American, half-Tahitian girl, was raised on the island but longs for the good old U.S. of A. "All my life's been one long vacation," she sighs, "and I'm bored." Luckily, Hap Endicott arrives on the scene. He's an Ohio schoolteacher who has come to manage his late uncle's coconut plantation. The two meet cute, and love and singing ensue. Includes songs at the drop of the hat, some terrific Tahitian dancing, and a lovely moment when a lovelorn Hap looks up and sees Mimi swimming gracefully among the clouds.
USA
IMDb  5.8 /10
Creators
Director Robert Alton
Writer Jerry Davis
Writer Robert Nathan
Writer William S. Stone
Information
Release Date1950-12-29
Runtime1h 16mins
GenreMusical, Romance
Content RatingApproved (Approved)
Awards
CompanyMetro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)
CountryUSA
LanguageEnglish
Hazard Endicott
Kate Bennett
Bill Kaiwa
Bill Kaiwa
Singer

Pagan Love Song

Pagan Love Song is a 1950 American romantic musical film released by MGM and starring Esther Williams and Howard Keel. Set in Tahiti, it was based on the novel Tahiti Landfall by William S. Stone.


Plot

Mimi Bennett lives with her wealthy aunt Kate on the South Pacific isle of Tahiti. A half-Tahitian, half-Caucasian girl, Mimi's dream is to someday leave this world to live in America.

Hazard Endicott's arrival changes her plans. He is a school teacher from Ohio who has inherited a Tahiti estate. His first task is to hire a servant and he mistakes Mimi for a native girl, offering her a job. She amuses herself by not telling him the truth.

The estate turns out to be little more than a shack. Endicott also miscalculates an invitation to a party at Kate's, coming in casual island attire to an event with elegantly dressed guests. Mimi takes pity on him and a romance blooms.


Cast

  • Esther Williams as Mimi Bennett (singing voice was dubbed by Betty Wand)
  • Howard Keel as Hazard Endicott
  • Minna Gombell as Kate
  • Charles Mauu as Tavee
  • Rita Moreno as Teuru

Production

The film was originally announced as Tahiti and was to star Ann Miller, Howard Keel and Ricardo Montalbán. Eventually Miller was replaced by Esther Williams and Montalban by Charles Mauu. The title was then changed to Hawaii.

The film was to have been directed by Stanley Donen but Williams refused to work with him again after Take Me Out to the Ballgame. Location work was done on the Hawaiian island of Kauai.

Esther Williams realised she was pregnant during the shoot. She claimed she nearly drowned during filming.

The film went $400,000 over budget.


Deleted songs

"Sea of the Moon", performed by voice-dubbed Esther Williams, was cut from the released film; this video outtake still survives today.

Howard Keel sings "Why Is Love So Crazy?" in the released film version, but a reprise performed by Esther Williams was cut; this video outtake also still exists.

Howard Keel's song "Music on the Water" was deleted from the released film. The audio pre-recording survives; the status of the video outtake is unknown.


Reception

According to MGM records the film earned $2,157,000 in the US and Canada and $1,203,000 elsewhere, resulting in a profit of $108,000. This was considered a relative disappointment for an Esther Williams movie.