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  • 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.
  • preppy-311 November 2006
    John Woolfolk (Framk Mayo) has his new bride tragically killed right after they get married. He decides to seal himself off from other people and sail the seas. After a few years he comes ashore and finds beautiful Millie (Virginia Valli) who lives with her senile father and childlike but violent Nicholas (Charles A. Post). Millie falls for John and, eventually, breaks through to him. He wants to take her and her father away--but Nicholas has other plans...

    Pretty much unknown until TCM showed it recently. It's a beautiful print with nicely tinted scenes and a great new score also. The film itself is just basically a nice solid drama--well acted and directed. Valli is beautiful, Mayo is masculine and Post is downright frightening as Nicholas. Well-done movie--worth catching.
  • javascout-16 November 2006
    Hereditary phobias drive Millie (Virginia Valli)and her grandfather (Nigel De Brulier) to retreat from the world on a small deserted island off the Florida coast. There is some reference to the grandfather's exile as a self-induced political banishment but the two are so fraught with anxiety attacks that it seems implausible that they would get up the courage to ever leave their home in the first place.

    In another part of the world, John Woolfolk (Frank Mayo) marries and loses his bride in the same day in an accident. He takes to the sea in his small sailing boat (tiny yacht?) with his first mate, Paul Harvard (former Keystone cop Sgt. Ford Sterling) to forget and also to avoid ever falling in love again.

    Prior to John's dropping anchor in the island's bay for fresh water, an escaped homicidal maniac Iscah Nicholas (Charles A. Post) attaches himself to Millie and grandpa and basically terrorizes them both. He gets a hankering for Millie, constantly threatening her and vowing to kill her grandfather if she doesn't do his bidding which includes kissing and ultimately marriage. Millie has a wanted poster saying that Charles is an escaped murderer convicted of killing an elderly woman.

    Nellie falls for john as he stays anchored in the harbor and their love blossoms even though John is still in denial. He sails away only to turn around to retrieve Millie.

    Millie of course is thrilled he's back and when he finally proposes to take her away with him, she is afraid to leave. He convinces her but she is still fearful of Isach. They agree that she will steal away with grandpa before Isach is the wiser but Isach knows there is something brewing and catches Millie and Grandpa putting on their coats (in Florida?!) to leave. He kills grandpa and takes Millie up the stairs to the bedroom and ties her up.

    John shows up to get Millie, gun in hand, and discovering grandpa face down on the livingroom floor, he hears noises from upstairs and goes to investigate. When he reaches the door, the gun gets knocked out of his hand and Isach jumps him in a fight to the death. Isach is twice as large as John and motivated. Meanwhile, Millie is shown squirming in the bed half clothed (for 1924).

    It is quite a fight. After skirmishing their way down a steep flight of stairs and into the livingroom, John finds a knife in the struggle and manages to stick it into Isach. That at least slows the madman down enough to allow John and Millie to leave the house. Isach follows and gets knifed again. John and Millie make their way to the dock where first mate Paul is waiting and he jumps in to continue the fight while John and Millie make their getaway in a dinghy.

    Once aboard the yacht, they make their plans to cast off. Somehow Isach has found a gun and from the dock, wounds Paul in the head as his comes on deck to way anchor.

    Something that has always been present in this movie finally gets Isach and the castaways brave the breakers in rough seas to get away. Paul passes out from his wound and the once timid Millie finds herself navigating the breakers as John does the depth sounds. Somewhere in here Millie is able to overcome her fears and leave them behind.

    What makes this film magical is the new score. I amplifies the exotic nature of this tale. Kudos to the TCM winning composer.
  • Once again, Turner Classic Movies has done a great service to film buffs everywhere -- at least for those who have cable TV service and can get TCM -- with their TV debut of this film. Beautifully photographed in 1924, this extraordinary story gets restored to full health and with a new musical soundtrack.

    From the very first scenes, "Wild Oranges" captures the bittersweet theme of love and loss, and plays it in a moving but subdued manner.

    The film slowly builds to its final crescendo and it has a positive moral to the story: a few moments of courage is enough -- when mixed with love -- to annihilate a lifetime lived in fear and phobia-induced panic. Does that sound hackneyed, or 'cliched,' at all ?? Oh well. "Wild Oranges" ain't that at all. Perhaps that is because the telling of this kind of story in 1924 was not all that common. And if it was more common then than it seems, now, it still gets a 9 for the performance of Virginia Valli.

    This is a small movie by comparison with "Ben Hur" in that same era, but with great, nay, almost visionary direction and camera work.

    There's not a minute wasted in this movie. All the other congratulations, however, belong to the restoration team, the musical direction and the new soundtrack articulated for this movie. This is a long-lost classic of the silent screen era and its return, via TCM, is most welcome.
  • strsfgold12 February 2007
    Warning: Spoilers
    Wild Oranges is a true delight! Seek out this treasure and watch it if you can.

    John Woolfolk (Mayo) is devastated after his beloved wife is killed in a freak accident. After her death, he becomes an aimless wonderer who sails the majesty of the seas with his friend Paul (Sterling). He and Paul come across a beautiful and mysterious island while sailing. They choose to stay for a while but they have no idea that the island is inhabited by Lichfield Stope (Brulier) and his granddaughter, Millie (Valli). The Stopes suffer from an extreme case of...fear. They're afraid of everything, especially other people. Also, living on the island with the Stopes, is a gross, vicious, homicidal maniac named Nicholas (Post). John meets Millie and tries his hardest to resist falling in love with her but with her pretty face and sweet innocence, he just can't help himself. He tries his hardest to save Millie from the clutches of the evil Nicholas and from her own fear...

    The new score for this silent film by Vivek Maddala is wonderful. Lots of pretty melodies drift within the score. This helps add a new dimension to the film, along with several lovely tints here and there.

    The only negative thing about this film is the overly long fight sequence towards the end. It dragged out way too long for my taste and not to mention it got pretty violent. Other than that, Wild Oranges is as good as gold. When watching this film, one can actually smell the intoxicating aroma of wild oranges and orange blossoms. One can hear the rushing of waves from the ocean against the sand. One can feel something strange stirring inside themselves; they begin to wonder about the mystery of life. At least it was that way for me. Will this film do the same to you? Go find out! :)
  • wes-connors17 June 2010
    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
  • Firstly, I agree with all the other reviews. My main reason for posting this comment is to clarify this takes place off the south Georgia coast. It's no War and Peace but is a fun viewing, expertly done by the very young director King Vidor. Also little known Silent Screen Siren, Virgina Valli, is particularly lovely and effective Southern Heroine, a real precursor to Blanche DuBois, living among her ruined finery. The locales in this film look surprisingly authentic. As a native Georgian, I have spent many vacations along the coast. I would imagine it was likely to have had exterior shots done on location. The set for the delapidated plantation house was also beautifully rendered. The exterior sets were also excellent.
  • Wild Oranges (1924)

    *** (out of 4)

    Highly entertaining thriller about a man (Frank Mayo) who leaves society after his new bride is killed in a freak carriage accident. The man takes off on his ship with his second hand (Ford Sterling) and they eventually run into a small island where a young woman (Virginia Valli) lives with her grandfather. The man and young woman quickly fall in love but a crazed convict (Charles A. Post) isn't going to let them live in peace. This isn't a masterpiece but it is a highly entertaining little gem that features some great direction by Vidor. His direction is really what makes the film because it's so laid back that you can't help but feel like you're actually on this peaceful island. There's an isolated atmosphere running throughout the movie that really puts her right there in the action and it's this laid back feeling that works so well once the psychopath starts to take his revenge on the woman who rejected him. There are many suspenseful scenes with one of the best coming early one when the convict threatens to feed the girl to some alligators if she doesn't kiss him. The scene involves real and fake alligators but it's very well done. The final ten minutes is one long fight sequence, which is directed wonderfully well. The scene goes on and on but it's exciting and extremely well drawn out as it starts in one room, hits several others and then goes to a few new locations outside the house. The performances aren't as strong as one would hope but they're good enough to carry the film.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I saw this film in a King Vidor season at London's National Film Theatre nearly thirty years ago, but the only detail I could remember was the shots of the dog's eyes glowing in the dark near the end.

    Based on a best-selling novel by Joseph Hergesheimer, this nonsense gets far better treatment than it deserves under the direction of the great King Vidor, with superb photography by John W. Boyle both on location and in and around a crumbling Georgia mansion created by veteran MGM production designer Cedric Gibbons; all beautifully tinted.

    Virginia Valli makes an attractive heroine, but Charles A. Post is far too personable to be convincing as the local homicidal brute, and would have effortlessly crushed hero Frank Mayo in a straight contest, (SPOILER COMING:) so the final punch-up between them - spectacular though it is - goes on far too long for plausibility; deprived of his gun Mayo wouldn't have lasted five seconds against him.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This is what I would think was a film that would have appealed to the common man back in the 1920s--a film with very modest pretensions and a less than sophisticated plot but plenty of action as well. In other words, this film is cool to watch but isn't exactly "high art".

    Instead of showing the leading man dating or getting married, the film jumps right to a scene shortly after the wedding where the new bride and groom are on a runaway wagon. The horses won't stop and ultimately the bride is thrown from to her death--a very good scene indeed--except when the corpse is shown with her eyes wide open in death and only a second later, after the man says that she is dead, her eyes are magically closed. This isn't much of a quibble--just an interesting mistake.

    The grieving groom takes off in his sailboat with his friend and spends the next three years trying to forget. Eventually, fate brings them to a lonely island off the coast of Georgia that is inhabited by three crazy freaks! One is a guy who is an agoraphobic who, according to the film, still thinks the Civil War is on or some such nonsense. Another is his pretty young daughter who is an agoraphobic who wants to get out and see the world (THAT'S an interesting dichotomy). The third is a maniac who likes killing people and is described as "half man and half animal"! The groom falls for the agoraphobic lady. They ride away in his boat but then she panics and remembers that she's afraid of leaving her home, so he takes her back. However, after he sets out to sea again, he can't get her out of his mind, so he returns to find the maniac waiting to kill him. It seems that the crazy dude killed the old man and is now trying to force himself on the woman, so it's time for our hero to come to the rescue. To make a long, long and SUPER-violent fight short (including a scene where the groom is biting the maniac's arm so hard that blood is pouring from the wound), they escape and the maniac is torn apart and drowns thanks to a wild dog!!!

    Believe it or not, this REALLY is the plot of the film!! It's not exactly Masterpiece Theater or Shakespeare, but on the other hand in a salacious way, it's quite entertaining in a low-brow sort of way. The funny thing is earlier this evening I saw a "sophisticated" silent film starring the legendary Louise Brooks and I actually enjoyed this trashy tale more than Brooks' film! So, for a weird but enjoyable change of pace, give this film a try.
  • gbill-7487727 September 2019
    Some pretty cool shooting on location in the swamps of Georgia, which director King Vidor pushed for and which was a big milestone for Hollywood, and some nice footage at sea as well. Unfortunately, it's not very remarkable otherwise. The story is weak, the pace is slow, and the cast has no star appeal. The characters in the deep South are also very cartoonish. I liked the scene where the widower (Frank Mayo) is thinking of the young woman (Virginia Valli), and she comes to him in an overlay, and it's probably the film's best, much better than the long, drawn-out brawl.

    Favorite intertitle: "Mystery - the insidious scents of earth - the veiled lure of sex - Life's traps were set with just such treacheries!-"
  • Warning: Spoilers
    . . . WILD ORANGES' flyleaf probably would include a family tree to help readers figure out who begat who. However, since WILD ORANGES is a flick--and a silent one, at that (with the paucity of exposition film consumers have come to expect from this mute genre)--many if not most viewers are forced to turn to "user reviews" to figure out the perverse genealogy of WILD ORANGES. Being a Southern Gothic Story, it's clear to regular devotees of this niche that "Iscah" is "Millie's" biological dad. The fact that a title card says this swamp creature is only 30, and 18-year-old Millie looks like she's going on 40 should not conflict with the facts of this case. (Millie exemplifies a typical "Southern Belle," and once a cypress swamp thing turns 12 he senses that NOW is the time to pass along his genes.) These sour facts of life leave Millie's grand-pappy the odd man out, because he'd be the usual suspect for the role of her progenitor (especially since he's a dead ringer for the Rebel Traitor "B. Dern" plays in THE HATEFUL EIGHT). There's also the possibility that some of the Fair Sex will cringe when Daddy Iscah proposes to make it a belated mother-daughter hook-up by coercing Millie into a Dating Game. This example of Confederate Values so enraged the censors of its day that they allowed the film makers to end this sordid tale by having a Hell Hound chow down on Iscah BEFORE he's apparently able to consummate his crush on Millie (though who knows what he did after tying her to the bed posts).
  • Warning: Spoilers
    When he was barnstorming the country to promote films like Solomon and Sheba (1956) and War and Peace (1959), King Vidor often claimed that his best films were his silent features. Of course, having no access to these pictures, we didn't believe him. But now it seems that King was not kidding. Big-budget pictures like Love Never Dies (1921), The Big Parade (1925), Bardelys the Magnificent (1926), The Crowd (1928) reveal the artistic hand of a master. Now you can add Wild Oranges to this roster. True, compared to the above titles, it's on a small scale, but nonetheless it comes to a great climax and makes for an equally engrossing 88 minutes. If you really want to be picky, you could complain that Virginia Valli is not very attractively photographed, made up and costumed. But that is part of the reality of her appeal to the spruce, manly, admirably reticent yet handsome hero. For his part, the attraction too is evident, despite his denial.

    As you can see from the cast list, this is a picture with only five characters (six actually, if you count Mrs Woolfolk), and King does wonders in the way he keeps the story moving along most suspensefully, despite the fact that we can guess how it will all turn out. The director is assisted by his players, of course. Despite his self-effacement, Frank Mayo is superb in the lead role. It could be complained that Virginia Valli is a little too fidgety, but its part of her characterization and seems perfectly natural under the circumstances. More to the point, Nigel de Brulier way overdoes the bug-eyed act, but he's not in the picture all that much. Even the dog has a larger and far more important part to play. Ford Sterling strikes exactly the right note in his relationship with Mayo. Not too chummy, but loyal. However, in the acting league the movie is definitely stolen by Charles A. Post who possibly delivers here the outstanding performance of a remarkable career on both sides of the camera. Oddly, he bears a strong resemblance in both appearance and acting to Peter Whitney in the 1945 "Murder, He Says".
  • When a windblown newspaper spooks the horses pulling John Woolfolk's carriage, his wife is thrown out and killed. He tries to escape his grief by taking to the high seas only to find reason to love again when he encounters an emotionally damaged young woman, the granddaughter of a reclusive southerner on the Georgia coast. But their happiness depends on his finding a way to defeat a deranged and murderous man whose lust for her and threats of violence have turned her and her grandfather into psychological hostages.

    Although "Wild Oranges" is a lesser known King Vidor film, its uncompromising realism makes it more satisfying and less dated than some of his more stylized and prestigious later productions. I will never forget the image of Woolfolk trying to revive his dead wife, her eyes open and unresponsive.

    Frank Mayo and Virginia Valli give honest, understated performances as Woolfolk and his new-found love in this 1924 film whose atmospheric evocation of evil lurking in a coastal swamp (images of Spanish moss waving in the breeze were shot on location in Florida) is somewhat reminiscent of the finale in the 1961 film "Cape Fear."
  • Gripping movie, and thanks to Archive collections, they have brought out a relatively sharp DVD, with not much discontinuity, a few were there, but is entirely pardonable. Two persons, each escaping the horrors of their life by shunning the society, and each of them forcing one person each, to share their misery, probably both not liking it. One definitely, the other, the Man Friday of Hero, doesn't protest, may be since he shouldn't, bound by duty to his master. One is a war veteran. The history isn't told, only hinted that he had lived through the horror of war, so it isn't entirely abnormal that he became abnormal. Probably he lost his kin in that too, there is no mention of the parents of his grand daughter, unwilling but thoroughly conditioned to his frame of mind- misanthrop as well as agoraphobic. They come across the misanthrope but claustrophobic (not exactly, but one who likes to live in open).

    I will say the roles relatively well performed by all the five characters, in fact including the sixth, whose only error was closing the eyes while dead, and just a hint of hand-movement when her corpse was over-handled by her husband. I wonder who was she, there was a guess of her being one of the five (Valli), but looking closely, I don't think it was she. Whoever she was, she definitely looked a bit more feminine and sweeter that Valli, where did she disappear I wonder. I thought once she could have been Boardman, but it wasn't she either. Probably the best was the menacing and demented maniac, Charles Post, the second credit would go to Valli, the confused woman, whose brain is trained one way, and instincts call the other. Considering it's vintage, probably it is one of the better made movies of the time. Even the action scenes didn't have too much of 'drama' element.
  • CJBx717 February 2014
    WILD ORANGES (1924) tells the story of John Woolfolk, a seafaring loner who turns his back on the world after the sudden death of his wife. In his travels he meets Millie Stopes and her grandfather, who live in isolation from the world due to the grandfather's nervous fear. The two meet by chance and a love blossoms between them – but will love conquer fear of the unknown? I found the movie very moving in many ways. The story had melodramatic elements and was quite simple and effective, generally quite low-key. Virginia Valli and Frank Mayo, as Millie and John, touchingly and convincingly convey their characters' isolation from the world and their yearning to break free from the chains of fear. Charles A Post is also effectively menacing and loathsome as Iscah Nicholas, a brutish bully who threatens the happiness of the prospective couple. The camera-work is beautifully evocative and expressive, with tint used as an indicator of time of day and mood. The editing is well paced and there are also some beautiful title cards. This is a wonderful little gem of a movie and an artistic success for King Vidor. I would definitely watch this again. The version I saw comes with an evocative and moving score by composer Vivek Maddala. SCORE: 9/10