The Bottle Imp (1917)

Genres - Drama  |   Run Time - 53 min.  |   Countries - USA  |  
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Lopaka (Sessue Hayakawa) is a poor fisherman who wants to marry Kokua, a maiden of royal blood (Kehua Walpahu). Her father turns down the match unless Lopaka can bring him two rare feather cloaks. While searching for the birds to supply the feathers, Lopaka runs into Pele, an old priest who sells him a magical wishing bottle that contains Pele's brother Kono -- the imp of the volcano. Kono can only be freed from the bottle when its last owner dies. No one wants to die holding the bottle because they will go to hell. Instead the bottle is sold time and time again, always for less money than before. With the bottle, Lopaka wishes for riches and gets them. He also wins Kokua as his wife. He angers the imp, who curses him with leprosy. Since he has sold the bottle, he has to buy it back. It was sold for only a cent last time, so Kokua finds coins that are worth even less and buys it herself. Lopaka's leprosy is cured, but he must find another buyer for the bottle to save his wife. Rollins, a drunken sailor, buys it with Chinese coins which are worth even less than the money Kokua used. Rollins then tries to steal Kokua, and Lopaka battles him. The men fall off a cliff together and ultimately Lopaka strangles Rollins. This frees Kono, who returns to the volcano and causes an eruption. Lopaka's riches vanish, but he and Kokua are perfectly happy in their humble thatched hut.