Pagan Love Song derives its title from a 1929 tune written by Arthur Freed and Nacio Herb Brown. The plot is cut from the same cloth as MGM's previous Esther Williams musicals. Sporting a black wig and deep tan, Williams plays American lass Mimi Bennett, who while on vacation in the South Seas is mistaken for a native girl by visiting schoolteacher Hazard Endicott (Howard Keel). Instantly falling in love with Mimi, Hazard attempts to court her according to Tahitian traditions. And that's about it for the plot; the rest of the film consists of Esther Williams swimming and Howard Keel singing. Based on the novel Tahiti Landfall by William S. Stone, Pagan Love Song was to have been directed by Stanley Donen, but Williams vetoed Donen in favor of Robert Alton.