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Return to Paradise

Gary Cooper , Barry Jones , Mark Robson    Unrated   VHS Tape
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Three-Quarters of a Great Movie Aug. 22 1999
By A Customer
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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By A Customer
Great pic...a master piece. A man of the world comes to grips of a new simple way of life .....one he never knew until he landed in Paradise....and found the woman who love him and changed his out look on life.......
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars  19 reviews
22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Really sophisticated for 1953 April 13 2003
By random reader - Published on Amazon.com
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.
18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Three-Quarters of a Great Movie Aug. 22 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
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.
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars simple way of life...at a time when the world was at war May 6 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Great pic...a master piece. A man of the world comes to grips of a new simple way of life .....one he never knew until he landed in Paradise....and found the woman who love him and changed his out look on life.......
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Good Old Movie Oct. 30 2009
By Margaret Behel - Published on Amazon.com
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.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This movie turned me into a beach bum Feb. 26 2012
By Richard Dawid - Published on Amazon.com
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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