Starring Virginia Valli and Frank Mayo
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.
Starring Frank Mayo and Virginia Valli
April 5, 1924
Of all the pictures that have been made during the past year, we think that "Wild Oranges" leads the field in dramatic interest. And this comes very near making "Wild Oranges" one of he best pictures of he year. For if a good picture is one in which the interest never lags, why then this screen version of Joseph Hergesheimer's gripping short story is one of the best of its kind.
It is a story, to begin with, of fear, woman's fear, which the girl in question has inherited from a pacifist father. Its scene is laid on the coast of Florida where, in a ramshackle old house, surrounded by a tangled growth of trees and shrubbery, lives a girl, her father, and a half-witted servant. The servant, it eventually develops, is a homicidal maniac.
And then, into the hushed serenity of these lives comes John Woolfolk on his small yacht, The Gar. He sees the white and gleaming body of a woman swimming in the bay, and he follows it with his glasses and sees her gain the beach where a tendril of wood-smoke ascends. He decides to call that evening.
Woolfolk's call, which reveals the terror in which the girl and her feeble old father dwell, at the same time sets in motion the animosity of the demented man servant. A terrific fight between the two men follows, in which the girls conquers her heritage of fear, the maniac is killed, and Woolfolk takes the girl to sea with him and to safety.
It is a closely-knit story of rare power, and its direction
by King Vidor is at all times excellent. The choice of settings
is superb so that you actually smell the coast of Florida and
feel the tragic suspense that broods over the lives of its inhabitants
Frank May does well in the role of Woolfolk, while Virginia Valli is quite excellent as Millie Stope, the fear-ridden heroine. Charles A. Post, as Nicholas, the half-wit, gives a strong and convincing portrait.
"Wild Oranges" is distinctly a picture not to miss, for it is entertainment with a capital "E" from start to finish.
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