Return to Paradise

Synopsis: Based on the short story "Mr. Morgan" from "Return To Paradise" (James Michener's sequel to "Tales of the South Pacific"). Morgan (Gary Cooper), a drifter and soldier-of-fortune washes up on a Pacific island that is a small dictatorial state under the puritanic rule of Pastor Corbett (Barry Jones), a missionary. They conflict but Morgan stays on and carves out a cozy life. He has a child out of wedlock with island native Maeva (Roberta Haynes), but departs the island after her death, leaving the young daughter behind. He returns years later in search of his daughter. It is circa the early years of WW II, and he finds that his daughter has fallen in love with an American pilot who has crash-landed on the island. It appears that the pilot will do for the girl what Morgan did for her mother, and then depart.
Director(s): Mark Robson
Production: United Artists
100 min

These are the South Seas, six million

square miles of warm-water Pacific...

its surface dotted with uncounted

fragments of land...

Iost in a wilderness of ocean.

And this is my island, Matareva.

Once, it was a barren reef,

barely lifting its head above water.

Then a piece of driftwood caught fast

and rotted, sand began to collect.

From distant shores a seed

blew in and a tree grew.

Then my people came

and made it their home...

and after them came others.

Until I grew up, I knew

no other home but Matareva.

Now, I'm the schoolteacher

of my island...

but I remember how it was

when I was a small boy.

We were a people without joy,

an island in chains.

This is the way we lived.

Twice a day, morning and evening,

we were forced to attend prayer...

and the wardens checked our names.

They were the policemen and if a man

were missing, he would be found.

If a man and girl

were missing together...

we trembled to think

of their punishment.

The old songs, the old dances

our fathers knew, were forbidden.

Our young women who

once were proud of their bodies...

were taught to be ashamed.

The natural laws of love

were made a crime...

even for a husband and wife

on the Sabbath.

Those hours before Saturday night

until Monday daybreak were the worst.

No frivolity was permitted.

No games, no play, no laughter.

It was on such a Saturday afternoon,

ten years before World War II...

that there was a commotion

in the street.

A girl had violated a rule...

and the man who was our law,

our judge...

the master of our bodies and souls,

was about to render sentence.

Mr. Cobbett tane,

we have the girl, Maeva.

What is the charge?

Twice, she has disobeyed

the curfew.

Last night, when we went to the house

of her aunt she was not there.

The old lady told us nothing.

- I didn't know where she was.

- Shut up.

Where were you last night?

I repeat, where were you?

I swam out to the reef.

For what reason?

The night was beautiful.

You know it is a sin to stay out

after 9 o'clock. Were you alone?


Who was with you?

Answer me, Maeva.

Who was with you?

A turtle. A young turtle.

Silence! Be quiet!

For breaking the law, twenty mats.

A week carrying sand for insolence.

Who are you?

Why did you come to Matareva?

I was bound for Rarotonga

and we were blown off course.

This looks like a nice, quiet place.

I figured I'd try it awhile.

What do you intend to do here?

Do? Just live, I guess.

There is no place to live.

No houses.

I'll build one of those leaf huts.

I'll speak very plainly, sir.

White men are not welcome.

They corrupt the morals

of the people.

Are you the pastor?

God guides my actions. I advise you

to get back on that boat at once!

You mean swim?

Ho, there! Come back!

Wardens! Wardens!

- Come back!

- Come back!

I'm stuck here, like it or not.

When's the next boat in?

Not for four months. But

you're leaving after the Sabbath.


On Monday morning, a canoe will

take you to the island of Makini.

Makini? Thas a swamp.

Six people and a billion mosquitoes.

That is no concern of mine.

I'm not asking

for the keys of the city...

but I won't take orders

from a two-bit Mussolini.

Who are you?

The agent?

Cobbett is the name, Thomas Cobbett.

I have full authority on Matareva.

Les make a deal. Leave me alone

and I'll leave you alone.

Get out of my way.

Wardens, seize that man!


OK. Now beat it,

before I get mad.

To your homes, all of you!

Go to your homes!

To your homes!

I figure I'll stay awhile.

The name's Morgan.

And that was how Mr. Morgan

came to Matareva...

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James A. Michener

James Albert Michener (; February 3, 1907 – October 16, 1997) was an American author of more than 40 books, most of which were fictional, lengthy family sagas covering the lives of many generations in particular geographic locales and incorporating solid history. Michener had numerous bestsellers and works selected for Book of the Month Club, and was known for his meticulous research behind the books.Michener's novels include Tales of the South Pacific for which he won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1948, Hawaii, The Drifters, Centennial, The Source, The Fires of Spring, Chesapeake, Caribbean, Caravans, Alaska, Texas, and Poland. His non-fiction works include Iberia, about his travels in Spain and Portugal; his memoir titled The World Is My Home; and Sports in America. Return to Paradise combines fictional short stories with Michener's factual descriptions of the Pacific areas where they take place.His first book was adapted as the popular Broadway musical South Pacific by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein, and later as eponymous feature films in 1958 and 2001, adding to his financial success. He also wrote an analysis of the United States' Electoral College system in a book which condemned it, entitled Presidential Lottery: The Reckless Gamble in Our Electoral System. It was published in 1969, and republished in 2014 and 2016. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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