Return To Paradise (1953)

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RETURN TO PARADISE  was skimmed from the short story “Mr. Morgan”, out of James A. Michener’s book, also titled “Return To Paradise”.  A rather minor effort for Gary Cooper, it’s enjoyable enough as a time-filler, diverting thanks to the location filming in Western Samoa. Set in 1929, it covers the adventures of a wandering beach bum, who arrives on a Polynesian island that is under the iron-thumb rule of a God-crazed missionary. The preacher employs bullying police to keep the congregation devout and ‘pure’. Mr. Morgan won’t be pushed about and changes are wrought.

A robust music score from Dimitri Tiomkin adds pep to the100 minutes, directed by Mark Robson, released to middling success in 1953. Michener’s book, a collection of South Seas stories, was a fun afternoon-in-hammock collection. Audiences gave up $5,500,000, placing this a balmy #53 in ’53. With Barry Jones, Roberta Haynes, Moira MacDonald and John Hudson.

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