Lotus Eater (1921)

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Director Marshall Neilan proved to be a little ahead of his time when he made this satirical comedy-drama, based on the book by Albert Payson Terhune -- trade paper Variety opined that "the general public will be vaguely dissatisfied by the barbed humor pricking their bubble of romance" -- something screwball comedies made a habit of ten years later! A somewhat posey John Barrymore plays naive Jacques Lenoi, who marries money-hungry Madge Vance (Anna Q. Nilsson). When Madge realizes he isn't as moneyed as she assumed she turns a cold shoulder to him and he takes off on a balloon trip to China. The craft crashes onto a South Seas island, where the victims of several other wrecks have established an idyllic community. They all dress in Grecian-style costumes, no money passes hands, and everyone pursues their hearts' desires. Lenoi pursues pretty Mavis (rising star Colleen Moore), and they fall in love. But eventually he decides to return to New York and Madge -- e! xcept that he discovers upon his return that Madge has married someone else. When forced to choose between the two men, she runs off with a third, so Lenoi happily returns to the island, and to Mavis.

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Keywords

greed, inheritance, love, love-conquers-all, romance, son