Interesting, atmospheric silent film about a man, John Woolfolk (Frank Mayo), who has isolated himself from the world after the death of his young bride in a horse and buggy accident, spending three years traveling at sea on a small sailing vessel, a sailor/cook as his only companion. The boat heads into an isolated Southern swampland one day, inhabited only by one old man, bug-eyed with fear of strangers, his lonely, fearful granddaughter Millie (Virginia Valli), and a big, filthy brute, described as "part man/part child", who is a sort of backwoods hillbilly, running around with a snarl on his face and forcing poor little Millie to kiss him or be thrown in the swamp full of alligators. Yeah, a real cretin. When John meets lovely Millie, it appears to be love at first sight for these two as Millie, apparently never having encountered an attractive man in her life, can't seem to keep her hands from touching, grabbing, and rubbing the front of his shirt. Well, our man is scared of falling in love again - so backs off from her. But - love may just conquer both their fears in the end!
This film is really excellent with an involving, sometimes exciting, sometimes romantic story. The whole feeling to the film is greatly enhanced by the very nice on-location photography - scenes lit by the morning sun, and an exotic atmosphere lush with a landscape draped in Spanish moss, orange trees and orange blossoms, grandfather constantly peeking through the shutters of the old, rundown Southern mansion where they live, a constantly barking dog, critters roaming about, and the breeze flying through the mossy swampland - I felt like I was there. A well-done scene at sea where the camera is strapped on the rocking boat actually made me feel seasick (okay, I admit, it doesn't take much to make me seasick). The print, as featured on TCM, looked very nice, tinted in parts a variety of tones including sepia, blue, pink, and orange shades. The music featured here was suitably atmospheric, moody, and mysterious - a very nice accompaniment to the film. Very enjoyable and entertaining.
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