South of Suva (1922)

Genres - Adventure  |  
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Contrary to popular belief, the career of Mary Miles Minter did not end the moment that director William Desmond Taylor was found murdered (although Minter was not a suspect, her infatuation with the much-older Taylor caused a scandal). This picture came out five months after Taylor's murder, and it's treated just like any other Paramount release. No excuses are made for Minter -- in fact, Moving Picture World notes that "the star was far finer than the picture, but his has happened to Miss Minter before." The story is very different from Minter's usual frilly, girlish vehicles -- here, she is the wife of, believe it or not, the villainous Walter Long. How pretty Phyllis (Minter) wound up married to the rough-hewn Sydney Latimer (Long) is never divulged. All we know is that when Phyllis goes to the Fiji Islands to surprise Latimer, who she married the year before, she finds him drunkenly cavorting with the native girls. After a failed attempt to reform him, Phyllis runs away and meets up with John Webster (John Bowers). Webster mistakes Phyllis for the ward whose arrival he is expecting, and she decides to go along with it. A romance begins to blossom, but Latimer tracks her down. Because Phyllis refuses to have anything to do with her degenerate husband, he turns her over to the natives to use as a sacrifice. Webster finds out about the plan and rescues her. The native police kill Latimer, leaving Phyllis free to marry Webster. Minter's career did end a few months after this film came out, but it seems to have been her own choice -- her mother had pushed her into films as a child, and she was never really enamored of the profession.

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Keywords

escape, harem, human-sacrifice, husband, identity, island, native, sailing, savage