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Millie Stope lives with her grandfather on a remote island. Her grandfather fled there for political reasons. But they're not alone. An escaped prisoner, Nicholas, is terrorizing them, and further more, he's interested in Mllie. John Woolfolk has lost his wife in an accident and tries to forget by sailing in his yacht aimlessly on the ocean. By chance he drops anchor in a bay of that island. He soon finds out that something is wrong on that island, and furthermore, he falls in love with Millie, who sees in him a chance to get off that island. But Nicholas has threatened her with rape and murder if she tries to escape, and he has found out about her plans... Written by
Stephan Eichenberg <email@example.com>
Newlywed Frank Mayo (as John Woolfolk) is out riding with his bride, when the combination of wind and flying paper spooks their horses. The runway carriage results in Mr. Mayo's beautiful wife being thrown to her death. Despondent, widower Mayo goes out sailing with cook and companion Ford Sterling (as Paul Halvard), for three years of peaceful solitude aboard ship. When passing by the coast of Georgia, they decide to stop for fresh water and food. Mayo sees a beautiful woman swimming; and on land, he meets lonely Virginia Valli (as Millie Stope) and her fearful grandfather, Civil War veteran Nigel de Brulier (as Litchfield Stope). They live in an old mansion, with slow-witted Charles "Buddy" Post (as Iscah Nicholas).
At first, Mayo tries to resist Ms. Valli. But, she can't keep her hands off the seafaring man, and the pair seem destined for love. The simple-minded Mr. Post has other plans, however. Seeing love blossom between Mayo and Valli causes him to lose whatever is left of his mind If this seems very much like the plot of a 1920s D.W. Griffith film, it was - he acquired the rights, originally, and perhaps hoped to star Richard Barthelmess and Carol Dempster. But, Mr. Barthelmess had left the Griffith company, to headline "Tol'able David" (1921). Joseph Hergesheimer wrote that story and this one followed-up, in 1922. It was considered a hot property, and "Wild Oranges" found its way at the Goldwyn studios, with director King Vidor.
Mr. Vidor does well with the story's use of nature and the elements; the story begins with the wind and ends in the water. The titular oranges symbolize the sexual fruit Valli provides, as Mayo gives up mourning his first wife. The co-stars don't have a lot of chemistry, but pantomime professionally. Mayo took over the leading role from actor/director James Kirkwood, a former Griffith player, who bowed out after much work (he remains in the long shots). All in all, the best impression was made by Mr. Post, who grew whiskers for the role, and startled audiences with his villainous dramatics. But, although Vidor uses wildlife well, the story doesn't - missing, for example, are the scenes establishing the dog's relationship with the cast.
***** Wild Oranges (1/20/24) King Vidor ~ Frank Mayo, Virginia Valli, Charles "Buddy" Post, Ford Sterling
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