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Return to Paradise

4.7 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Morgan (Gary Cooper), a drifter and soldier-of-fortune, washes up on a Pacific Island that is a small dictatorial state under the puritanical rule Pastor Corbett (Barry Jones), a missionary.

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Product Details

  • Actors: Gary Cooper
  • Directors: Mark Robson
  • Writers: Charles Kaufman
  • Producers: Mark Robson, Theron Warth, Robert Wise, Harry Lenart (assoc prod)
  • Format: NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: MGM
  • DVD Release Date: December 31, 2009
  • Run Time: 88 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B002Y26UPG
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #41,896 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Return to Paradise" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
This movie was Michener at his best--sympathetic with humanity as if he were amazed that beings capable of such evil were capable of such love. I saw this as a child, and it was the only movie that has has ever stuck in my consciousness with such persistence. No piece of art has ever come so close to being a life-changing experience. Some other reviewer mentioned that the last quarter of the movie ruined it from being a classic. Hell. The first quarter alone made it a classic. You don't even have to watch the last quarter, and you will be changed. And yet it is the last quarter that has moved me the most since becoming an adult. There is one scene there that was symbolic in a way that was incomprehensible to a child. Morgan, the no-good drifter, had abandoned his infant daughter to the natives and went bumming around the south Pacific. When he returns during WWII, he meets his daughter for the first time in fifteen years. The natives who raised her have spoiled her, letting her do whatever she wants, because she is the daughter of Morgan, who to them is a great hero and liberator. Of course the daughter, Tarea, is spoiled in another way: She can love no boy who doesn't match her heroic image of her father. One day, a U.S. Army pilot crash lands in the lagoon and soon lusts after the beautiful fifteen-year-old Tarea. Tarea, of course, sees an acceptable father substitute in the heroic but cynical young officer--someone who has come to rescue her people from the marauding Japanese. In one scene, Tarea does a little hula for the cocky unscrupulous pilot, expertly moving her tidy little body in an effort to seduce him. She is simultaneously totally lascivious and totally innocent. If I'm any judge of an audience, everybody was saying "No! Do not debase her. Do not ruin paradise!" Of course that is exactly what Michener was agonizing over in all his stories about Polynesian culture.
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By A Customer on August 22, 1999
Format: VHS Tape
For three quarters of the way, Return To Paradise is an engrossing fable of a man's search for meaning in a world which seems to have spun out of control. Until Gary Cooper returns to the island and reunites with his 16 year-old daughter, this film is a warm and moving interracial love story. While the last 20 minutes don't sink the film, they undercut what could have been a genuine classic. Still very worth watching, especially on a cold, snowy night in January! Luscious photography, filmed entirely in the South Pacific. And it goes without saying, Cooper is aces.
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Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
I first saw this technicolor movie in black and white on TV back in the mid 1950s. I fell in love with the island and its way of life. Only by accident did I recently discover this movie again some 50 plus years later. The island was even more beautiful seeing it in color. This was truly my Paradise and a place I wanted to retire to and live out my years.

The movie is almost a word-for-word account of the story in Michener's book of the same name, "Return to Paradise". Because it followed the book so closely, it made for a 5* movie. Rarely do movies follow the so closely the stories from which they originate. This movie is from one of the stories in Michener's book, "Return to Paradise". The title of that story in the book is "Mr. Morgan". After seeing this movie, I decided to buy the book which was published in 1951, two years before the movie's release.

If you love the beach and adventure romance stories set in idyllic settings, then this is the movie to get. In some ways, I would call this the Polynesian version of "Casablanca" with Cooper's character of Morgan akin to Bogart's character of Rick.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I will not review the movie. Everyone else has described the movie in detail. I got interested in it because of the music.
I saw the movie with my parents when it first hit the theaters and fell in love with the theme song. In 1958 my parents found a VERY LONG instermental version of the theme on and old album from the '50s by Percy Faith and His Orchestra, "Music From Hollywood".
I still have the album and I've put it on CD.
I'd give that 8 stars!

PS: I can't believe I found a copy of "Music From Hollywood" on CD! (which I got from Amazon) It is great to hear it without the scratches. It is a great recording with original fidelity. It even included an abbreviated copy of the original LP liner notes.
In addition to "Return To Paradise" there are a few other themes that are 6.5 minutes long; a very moving "Ruby" from Ruby Gentry, "The Theme From The Bad And The Beautiful" (it sticks to your brain) and a 6 minute version of "Where Is Your Heart" from Moulin Rouge.
All together 8 very well done versions of songs that you will not hear any other place.
The "Kismet" album on this CD is just an extra for me. I had never heard it but I was pleased to find a few songs that I was familiar with.
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Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
I enjoy revisiting old movies that I saw as a child on a small black and white television. Imagine my pleasant surprise of finding out the movie was in technicolor. This is a B movie that was never intended to win awards, but it is a morality play in the tradition of good versus evil. It shows that evil can be disguised and presented in the form of good and vice versa; that each of us must struggle to have an open mind and not pass judgement too quickly when confronted with beliefs different from our own.
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