Wild Youth (1918)

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Wild Youth was based on a novel by Gilbert S. Parker, apparently a favorite of producer J. Stuart Blackton. Set in the California mountains, the story focuses on wealthy old rancher Joel Mazzarine (Theodore Roberts and his beautiful "trophy wife" Louise (Louise Huff). Quickly wearying of her cranky, miserly husband, Louise throws herself at handsome young miner Orlando Guise (Jack Mulhall). Mazzarine responds to this personal affront by whipping and strangling Louise, but he is stopped from killing her by the timely (and deadly) intervention of Chinese houseboy Li Choo (played by non-Chinese actor/director James Cruze). In fact, it is Li Choo who emerges as the film's most admirable character, if only by default.