GenreDrama ProducersMark Robson, Robert Wise CountryUnited States
Release dateJuly 10, 1953 (1953-07-10) WriterJames A. Michener (adapted from the story by), Charles Kaufman CastGary Cooper (Mr. Morgan), Barry Jones (Pastor Corbett), Roberta Haynes (Maeva), Moira Walker (Turia) Similar moviesTransamerica, The Sand Pebbles, At Play in the Fields of the Lord, 7 Women, Cape of the North, Paradise Found
Return to Paradise is a Technicolor South Seas drama film released by United Artists in 1953. The film was directed by Mark Robson and starred Gary Cooper, Barry Jones and Roberta Haynes. It was based on a short story, Mr. Morgan, by James Michener in his short story collection Return to Paradise, his sequel to Tales of the South Pacific. It was filmed on location in Matautu, Western Samoa (present-day Samoa).
During the 1920s, itinerant American beachcomber Mr. Morgan (Gary Cooper) is deposited on the island of Matareva in the South Pacific. When he decides to stay he is confronted by Pastor Cobbett (Barry Jones), who lost both his father and his wife as a young missionary on the island. Cobbett rules Matareva as a Puritanical despot, using local bullies as "wardens" to enforce his rules. "Morgan Tane" stays on Matareva by winning the support of the natives after he defeats the wardens with the aid of an empty shotgun. Morgan has an illegitimate child, Turia (Moira Walker), by island girl Maeva (Roberta Haynes). After Maeva's death in childbirth, the distraught Morgan departs the island, leaving Turia behind with her grandmother.
Morgan returns to Matareva during World War II, where he reconciles with Cobbett, who has become a friend and teacher to the islanders, and meets Turia. She falls in love with an American Air Force pilot, Harry Faber, after he crash-lands his cargo plane in the lagoon. An interesting irony is that when Morgan first arrived, Cobbett tried to force him to leave the island lest he get an island girl pregnant. Now he faces the same thing when Faber tries to seduce his daughter, Turia, as a diversion while awaiting pickup by the Navy. Morgan intervenes and makes Faber leave and his crew leave, using the same empty shotgun as an inducement. When Turia forgives him, Morgan decides to remain with her on Matareva.
Gary Cooper as Mr. Morgan
Barry Jones as Pastor Thomas Cobbett
Roberta Haynes as Maeva
Moira Walker as Turia
John Hudson as Capt. Harry Faber
Le Mamea Matatumua Ata as Tonga
Hans Kruse as Rori, age 21
Terry Dunleavy as Mac
Howard Poulson as Russ
Donald Ashford as Cutler
Herbert Ah as Sue Kura
Va'a as Rori, age 9
The title song "Return to Paradise," by Dimitri Tiomkin and Ned Washington, was featured in the soundtrack. It has been recorded by artists including Nat King Cole, Bing Crosby and Shirley Horn.
Return to Paradise was brought to DVD on December 31, 2009 as part of the MGM Limited Edition Collection series.