Wild Orchids (1929)

90 mins | Romance | February 1929

Director:

Sidney Franklin

Cinematographer:

William Daniels

Production Designer:

Cedric Gibbons

Production Company:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
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HISTORY

The picture was known under the working titles Heat, Java, Romance, and Kiss of the East.
       The 23 Oct 1927 FD announced that Josephine Lovett was currently writing the adaptation to John Colton’s novel Heat. The project was a forthcoming Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp. (M-G-M) release. The 16 Nov 1927 FD reported that Clarence Brown would direct the picture with Greta Garbo set to star.
       On 18 Dec 1927, FD noted that Lovett had completed the script; however, she was not credited as a writer.
       The Jan 1928 Photoplay indicated that Lillian Gish had previously attached to play the lead before Garbo was selected.
       According to the 11 Jan 1928 Var, Brown would no longer be directing the picture, as he had opted to work on two other projects instead. However, several news items continued to report that Brown was still attached to Heat. The 18 Feb 1928 Motion Picture News announced that production would begin under Brown’s helm on 20 Feb 1928. Referring to the picture as Java, the 7 Mar 1928 Var reported a 1 Apr 1928 start date, and noted that Willis Goldbeck was currently writing the adaptation. As of 21 Mar 1928, Var announced that Brown would not be directing Garbo in Heat, but was searching for another picture in which he would work with her.
       The May 1928 Photoplay noted that Brown would soon direct Greta Garbo and John Gilbert in The Sun of St. Moritz, based on the ... More Less

The picture was known under the working titles Heat, Java, Romance, and Kiss of the East.
       The 23 Oct 1927 FD announced that Josephine Lovett was currently writing the adaptation to John Colton’s novel Heat. The project was a forthcoming Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp. (M-G-M) release. The 16 Nov 1927 FD reported that Clarence Brown would direct the picture with Greta Garbo set to star.
       On 18 Dec 1927, FD noted that Lovett had completed the script; however, she was not credited as a writer.
       The Jan 1928 Photoplay indicated that Lillian Gish had previously attached to play the lead before Garbo was selected.
       According to the 11 Jan 1928 Var, Brown would no longer be directing the picture, as he had opted to work on two other projects instead. However, several news items continued to report that Brown was still attached to Heat. The 18 Feb 1928 Motion Picture News announced that production would begin under Brown’s helm on 20 Feb 1928. Referring to the picture as Java, the 7 Mar 1928 Var reported a 1 Apr 1928 start date, and noted that Willis Goldbeck was currently writing the adaptation. As of 21 Mar 1928, Var announced that Brown would not be directing Garbo in Heat, but was searching for another picture in which he would work with her.
       The May 1928 Photoplay noted that Brown would soon direct Greta Garbo and John Gilbert in The Sun of St. Moritz, based on the novel of the same name by Paul Oskar Höcker. However, that film was never made. Brown instead directed Garbo and Gilbert in A Woman of Affairs (1928, see entry), which began principal photography on 31 Jul 1928, according to the 11 Aug 1928 Exhibitors Herald and Moving Picture World production chart.
       The 1 Aug 1928 Exhibitors Daily Review announced that following the completion of A Woman of Affairs, Sidney Franklin would direct Garbo in Heat, which was now referred to as Romance. On 20 Aug 1928, Exhibitors Daily Review confirmed that Franklin would direct the picture, which was listed as untitled at that time.
       The 21 Sep 1928 Exhibitors Daily Review and the 5 Oct 1928 Film Mercury reported that Nils Asther and Lewis Stone would play Garbo’s co-stars in the picture, which was again referred to as Heat in both sources.
       Principal photography started in late Oct 1928, according to the 3 Nov 1928 Exhibitors Herald and Moving Picture World, which reffered to the picture as “untitled.” Filming was expected to occur aboard a steamer in a “Northern port,” so as to have an ocean horizon in the background.
       The 10 Nov 1928 Exhibitors Daily Review added Etta Lee to the cast.
       Referring to the picture as Kiss of the East, the 15 Dec 1928 Exhibitors Herald and Moving Picture World indicated that principal photography had finished in early Dec 1928.
       The 22 Dec 1928 Exhibitors Herald and Moving Picture World noted that the film would have synchronized sound and music, but no dialogue. The story, set on the Indonesian island of Java, would also feature native Javanese dancing and song recordings.
       On 26 Dec 1928, Var announced the final title change to Wild Orchids.
       Although the picture did not open in New York City until 30 Mar 1929 at the Capitol Theatre, as indicated in the 3 Apr 1929 Var review, it was released in several cities, including Detroit, MI, and Washington, D.C. around 9 Feb 1929, and in Portland, OR, the following week, as reported in the 13 Feb and 20 Feb 1929 Var. The Los Angeles, CA, opening was held at Lowe’s State Theatre around 21 Feb 1929, as noted in the 27 Feb 1929 Var. The 2 Mar and 9 Mar 1929 Motion Picture News listed ten additional cities where Wild Orchids was already in release.
       The Var review praised Wild Orchids as a “strong program,” noting its “swanky production,” “awe-inducing” recreations of Javanese scenery, and the “topnotch” performances of the three featured cast members, Garbo, Stone, and Asther. The 7 Apr 1929 FD review also praised the “sexy Garbo film” as “finely done,” and noted Franklin’s “excellent” direction. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Exhibitors Daily Review
1 Aug 1928
p. 4.
Exhibitors Daily Review
20 Aug 1928
p. 4.
Exhibitors Daily Review
21 Sep 1928
p. 6.
Exhibitors Daily Review
10 Nov 1928
p. 4.
Exhibitors Herald and Moving Picture World
11 Aug 1928
p. 77.
Exhibitors Herald and Moving Picture World
3 Nov 1928
p. 37.
Exhibitors Herald and Moving Picture World
15 Dec 1928
p. 42.
Exhibitors Herald and Moving Picture World
22 Dec 1928
p. 31.
Film Daily
23 Oct 1927
p. 11.
Film Daily
16 Nov 1927
p. 7.
Film Daily
18 Dec 1927
p. 10.
Film Daily
7 Apr 1929
p. 4.
Film Mercury
5 Oct 1928
p. 4.
Harrison's Reports
16 Feb 1929
p. 30.
Motion Picture News
18 Feb 1928
p. 566.
Motion Picture News
2 Mar 1929
p. 698.
Motion Picture News
9 Mar 1929
p. 772.
New York Times
3 Mar 1929
p. 29.
Photoplay
Jan 1928
p. 6.
Photoplay
May 1928
p. 6.
Photoplay
Mar 1929
p. 46.
Variety
11 Jan 1928
p. 12.
Variety
7 Mar 1928
p. 12.
Variety
21 Mar 1928
p. 12.
Variety
26 Dec 1928
p. 14.
Variety
13 Feb 1929
p. 42.
Variety
20 Feb 1929
p. 8.
Variety
27 Feb 1929
p. 110.
Variety
3 Apr 1929
p. 20.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer presents
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTOR
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
COSTUMES
Gowns
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Heat
Java
Kiss of the East
Romance
Release Date:
February 1929
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening at Loew's State Theatre: ca 21 February 1928
New York opening at the Capitol Theatre: 30 March 1929
Production Date:
late October--early December 1928
Copyright Claimant:
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Distributing Corp.
Copyright Date:
28 January 1929
Copyright Number:
LP58
Physical Properties:
Silent
Mus score and sd eff by Movietone
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
90
Length(in feet):
9,235
Length(in reels):
11
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

John and Lili Sterling embark on a second honeymoon combined with a business trip, to Java. On their liner they meet Prince De Gace, a dashing and amorous fellow, who also owns a Java tea plantation. Unaware that the prince has made advances to his wife, John accepts an invitation to be his guest at the estate. On an inspection of the plantations, they are caught in a rainstorm, and the prince agrees to remain at a native hut and protect Mrs. Sterling. John, returning, sees the shadow of a couple embracing and suspects his wife of infidelity. On a tiger hunt, arranged by the prince, his suspicions are confirmed when Lili runs to the side of the wounded prince; he prepares to leave her, but her love for him is ultimately ... +


John and Lili Sterling embark on a second honeymoon combined with a business trip, to Java. On their liner they meet Prince De Gace, a dashing and amorous fellow, who also owns a Java tea plantation. Unaware that the prince has made advances to his wife, John accepts an invitation to be his guest at the estate. On an inspection of the plantations, they are caught in a rainstorm, and the prince agrees to remain at a native hut and protect Mrs. Sterling. John, returning, sees the shadow of a couple embracing and suspects his wife of infidelity. On a tiger hunt, arranged by the prince, his suspicions are confirmed when Lili runs to the side of the wounded prince; he prepares to leave her, but her love for him is ultimately reaffirmed. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.