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Film / Johnny Lingo

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"Mahana, you ugly!"
Johnny Lingo is a 1969 short film based on a short story by Patricia McGerr. The film was directed by Wetzel O. Whitaker and produced by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The film is about Johnny Lingo, a successful trader who is searching for a wife. Like the short story, the film takes place on the Kiniwata island of Hawaii.
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The short film was adapted into a feature film titled The Legend of Johnny Lingo, released in 2003.

Watch the whole film on YouTube here.


This short film provides examples of:

  • Accidental Bargaining Skills: Moki starts the dowry with three cows (already a high price), and Johnny Lingo raises it to eight cows.
  • Adaptational Name Change: Mahana's character is named Sarita in the original short story.
  • An Aesop:
    Johnny Lingo: Many things can happen to make a woman beautiful. The thing that matters most is what she thinks of herself.
  • Beautiful All Along: Mahana goes from everybody calling her ugly to one of the most beautiful girls on the island.
    Johnny Lingo: I have loved her ever since we were children. She was always beautiful.
  • Creepy Children Singing: "Johnny Lingo had a cow / Trade it for an ugly wife / Johnny Lingo's married now / He'll be sorry all his life"
  • Advertisement:
  • Dowry Dilemma: Averted. Johnny Lingo has no problem paying eight cows for Mahana's dowry.
  • The Freelance Shame Squad: Almost everybody laughs at Moki for offering a dowry of three cows for Mahana to Johnny Lingo.
  • GASP: Everybody gasps when Johnny Lingo offers eight cows for Mahana's dowry.
  • Greek Chorus: The American shopkeeper provides commentary on the story.
  • Protagonist Title
  • Tree Cover: Mahana can usually be found hiding in the trees.
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