Clara Kimball Young is found in the midst of weird surroundings in this Select feature, the story of which is interesting in spite of the lurid imagination of its author. It is set in the South Africa veld in and around a small settlement presided over, presumably by a resident British commissioner. Mary Saurin, an English girl, goes to visit brother Dick, the commissioner of this isolated place. Visiting them also is a Mrs. Valetta, while close by lives Maurice Stair, the assistant commissioner. There is, too, Major Kinsella, who appears to be the most important individual in the community. He is known as "Kim," and for some strange reason wears earrings. Otherwise he is a regular person.
Mrs. Valetta is much smitten with Kim, who doesn't reciprocate, but he almost immediately falls in love with Mary, and they become engaged. Stair, too, falls in love with Mary. An uprising of the natives is whispered about and the men of the village are assembled for drilling under Kim. They ride off the meet the savages, who quickly surround the whites and kill off all but Kim, who simulates insanity, knowing that the natives will not kill a demented person, whom they look upon as sacred.
At the start of the fight, Stair proves a coward and succeeds in making an escape. He tells those in the village that all have been killed save himself, and brings a message to Mary that it was Kim's last wish that he look after her. He shows her an earring supposed to have been taken from the ear of the "deceased" major.
A few weeks later Mary and Stair are wedded. After the ceremony she discovers the fake and tells Stair that though she will remain with him it must be a marriage in name only, until at some later time when she might learn to develop friendship for him. Stair in repentance agrees to rescue Kim, and that is affected, although Stair is shot by a native and dies upon their return.
There are many improbable points and a number of leads which end nowhere, or is there any attempt to push them to a conclusion. Mary on her way to the village is driven in a cart across the supposed veld. She is alone, save for the driver, who becomes drunk and right in the midst of a country infested with lions and tigers, he drives his mules off to a "stable" for the night. The man tells her she can come along or remain with the beasts, which she does. Then a flock of lionesses prance around the canvas covered cart, which would be enough to scare any woman. But suddenly Kim comes along and a fire is built, which keeps the jungle cats away. Whether the inconsistencies were present in the original form as written by Cynthia Stocklen, or whether Clas. E. Whittaker found the job of adapting it to a scenario too tough a proposition, is a matter for conjecture. Miss Young does well as Mary, yet the opportunity for stellar work is not abundant. Milton Sills as Kim creates a likable character. Jack Holt as the cowardly Stair does good work, while Marcia Manon gives an excellent impression as Mrs. Valetta. Robert C. Vignola no doubt had his hands full in directing "The Claw," and in spite of the technical defects, has maintained the interest. Louis J. Physioc's camera work was commendable save in some of the night scenes.
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