Synopsis in German
Despondent because his new bride has been killed in a carriage accident, John Woolfolk seeks solace cruising in his sailing boat with his cook and only companion, Paul Halvard. The sight of a dilapidated mansion and the odor of oleander and wild orange trees lure him to an island off the Georgia coast to seek fresh water. There he meets unsophisticated Nellie Stope and her fear-crazed grandfather, Lichfield Stope, who are being held in terror by homicidal maniac Iscah Nicholas. While attempting to help the pair escape Nicholas' wrath, Woolfolk falls in love with Nellie. Rowing ashore to rescue her, he finds that Nicholas has killed the old man and has tied Nellie to a bed. After a terrific fight, Woolfolk subdues the madman and escapes to the yacht with Nellie. Following them to the water's edge, Nicholas fires a gun at the boat, injuring Paul Halvard, and is finally killed when a fierce dog that has broken its leash buries its teeth into Nicholas' throat. (AFI)
Hush, stealth and subsequent mystery Shroud the first reels of "Wildd Oranges," the film adapted from Joseph Hergesheimer's novel now being unfurled at the Capitol. Fear is a dominant factor of this rather sketchy story, from which King Vidor, as the director, has obtained some really excellent effects. The basic idea is not essentially plausible, although of course as an isolated instance such a situation might occur.
Litchfield Stope and his granddaughter Millie are victims of the heritage of fear, and they reveal it in their glaring eyes. At the outset of this section of the story they are living in abject terror of a weak-minded giant, an escaped murderer, who has foisted his presence upon them in their lonely habitat contiguous to a swampland on the Georgia coast. The old man and the girl have not been able to escape the vigilance of the crafty, unshorn intruder.
A newspaper fluttering across the roadway is all that is shown in movement in the first scene of this picture, which is clever, as it subsequently follows that this paper is the chief cause of the story. The horses attached to a vehicle in which John Woolfolk and his wife are riding are then shown running away, having taken fright at the piece of paper. Mrs. Woolfolk is thrown from the little cart and killed, and her husband afterward decides to get away from all life on land. He therefore spends his time aboard a yacht with a cook and deckhand, Paul Halverd (Ford Sterling). The scenes aboard the boat when she is plowing her way through the sea are brilliantly photographed, and they add charm to the well-filmed story. In the course of his travels John decides to anchor in an inlet which happens to be only a short distance from the Stope house. The first sight John has of Millie is when he suddenly sees her swimming. This causes one to think that if she could get away to swim she might just as well have been able to escape to some hamlet where she could enlist help to apprehend Nicholas, as the giant is known.
One is really mystified by the sight of Nicholas, one moment a torrent of rage, and the next a whimpering child. This part is convincingly played by Charles A. Post. We understand from the picture that he has never been jealous of Millie until he observes her talking to John. Afterward Nicholas is seized with a desire for a kiss from Millie. She fights against it, and the muscular brute carries her through the swamp to a tree stump, on which she stands, being laughed at by Nicholas and threatened by rapacious alligators. At first she is determined to stay there, but finally she bows to the whim of the crazy man.
"Freedom of the sea thundered a challenge to her openn soul," is one of the many true motion picture subtitles in this production. These subtitles are mostly of the long-winded variety, some being fairly good, while others would be better for half their length.
The most important chapter of the story is where John, after having decided to leave the inlet, returns and comes ashore for the girl with whom he then knows he is desperately infatuated. It is arranged that the girl and the aged man shall escape aboard the small yacht, but the crafty Nicholas discovers them when they are ready to leave. He bellows at them, threatens them, and then quits the room, pretending to walk up all the stairs. But he creeps down, suddenly flinging open the door of the room, uncovering the sight of the girl and her grandfather about to escape through the window. With one blow of his great fist he fells the feeble old man and then snatches up the girl and carries her upstairs, where he binds her hands and feet.
There follows a fine fight between Nicholas and John. The half-witted man no longer is the whimpering specimen at any period of the battle, and John, who had armed himself with an automatic pistol, loses it at the beginning of the struggle.
One of the interesting features of this entertaining and thrilling picture is the fact that only five persons are in the cast.
Nigel de Brullier plays the part of the grandfather, and he is particularly good in the scenes depicting terror of the intruder. Virginia Valli is efficient as Millie Stope, but there seems to be a leap year alacrity about the speedy way she falls in love with John, the latter being cleverly played by Frank Mayo. The story itself does not contain much in the way of detail and its strength lies in the way in which it is told upon the screen. If Vidor had had a more fluent and plausible vehicle this picture would have been even better than it is. Some of the last sequences of "Wild Oranges" are strong enough to impress themselves upon one for some time. (New York Times, March 3, 1924)
"One of the most interesting and gripping pictures of the year. First of all, the cast. One feels that it could scarcely have been improved upon. The action rests in the hands of just five people - Frank Mayo as John Woolfolk, Virginia Valli as Millie Slope, Nigel De Brulier as Litchfield Slope, Charles A. Post as Nicholas and Ford Sterling as Paul.
The story is by Joseph Hergesheimer, a weird study in fear. Terror has possessed three generations of the Slopes and dwells with the grandfather and granddaughter who live alone in the Georgia swamp country. Dominating them is Nicholas, a homicidal maniac -- half man, half child. And then John Woolfolk comes, a lonely man who carries sorrow in his heart. His advent changes the old order, bringing sudden tragedy -- followed by freedom and happiness." (Photoplay, March 1924)
"Der King-Vidor-Filmklassiker Wild Oranges ist ein ungemein fesselnder, bei aller Melodramatik und Romantik sehr modern angelegter Film. Weder Mann noch Frau begnügen sich mit ihrer Geschlechterrolle. Beide entscheiden nach ihren Gefühlen und Wünschen." (Filmtage Tübingen, 2001)
Remarks and general Information in German: Im Americanischen Copyright Index wird das Datum wohl irrtümlich mit dem 15. Januar 1922 statt 1924 angegeben.
General InformationWild Oranges is a motion picture produced in the year 1923 as a USA production. The Film was directed by King Vidor, with Frank Mayo, , , Nigel de Brulier, Charles A. Post, in the leading parts.
Bibliography Rudolph S. Joseph (hg), King Vidor, Photo- und Filmmuseum im Münchner Stadtmuseum, oJ (ca 1968 ??)
References in Databases
KinoTV Database Nr. 30164