Cast & Crew
In Sydney, Australia, Kenneth Crandall robs the safe of gambler Nick Leach with the help of Nick's wife Papita, who is in love with him. When Nick discovers them, Ken knocks him out, takes the money and runs away without Papita. After Nick comes to, he kills his wife and blames the murder on Ken. Ken hurries to a waiting airplane, but when the pilot refuses to take the plane up in an approaching storm, Ken steals the plane and flies it himself. A hurricane forces Ken off course, and he just manages to land the plane on an uncharted island before he passes out. When Ken comes to, he is being cared for by Peter Appleton, a white man. At first, Ken is worried that he will be arrested, but Appleton informs him that no ships have landed on the island of Tonghalooha during the thirty years he has lived there. That night, despite his injuries, Ken hobbles back to his plane and finds beautiful island woman Moana sleeping inside. After he sends her away, he discovers that the stolen money is safe. He then tries the radio and learns that he is presumed dead. Appleton explains that Moana is the island's official hostess, a living symbol of goodness and purity, who can only marry into a chief's family. Later, Appleton discovers that Ken's radio works, despite Ken's statements to the contrary, and that he is accused of murder. Ken sees Appleton leave the plane and, worried about the safety of the stolen money, buries it in the forest. His actions are witnessed by Appleton's pet monkey, who digs it up and gives it to Appleton. Later, Appleton tells Ken that he and his wife were sent to Fiji as missionaries and, after landing on the island after a storm, grew to love it and stayed. Now that his wife is dead, the island is his home and he has no desire to leave. Ken, however, is anxious to leave and asks the islanders to help clear a runway, but the chief explains that he can spare no one because they are all preparing for a feast. Ken offers them money, which the islanders do not need, and then offers his cigarette lighter to the islander who does the most work on the runway. The prize causes two of the boys to fight, and they are chastised by the chief, who then sends several boys to clear the runway. After a ceremony of forgiveness is held, Moana, who has fallen in love with Ken, asks him to take her away with him. Back at his hut, Ken discovers that his money is gone and accuses Appleton of stealing it. After he hits Appleton, Appleton gives him the money and explains how he got it. Ken apologizes, but when he leaves, the villagers turn their backs on him. Moana then refuses to leave the island with Ken, as the forgiveness ceremony has not been performed. When Ken scoffs at her, she remains behind and takes the burden on herself. As Ken starts up his plane, a volcano erupts. Moana rushes toward Ken and is hurt by a falling tree, and Ken's plane is destroyed. The next morning, after spotting a ship in the distance, Ken lights a signal fire, explaining to Appleton that he intends to clear his name and return to Moana.
Jacqueline De Wit
Despite the title, the film does not take place on the island of Samoa. The Hollywood Reporter review states that the film used footage of island scenes and natives filmed in the South Pacific by the U.S. Army Signal Corps.