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HISTORY

The film's subtitle is A Story of the Southern Seas . Its pre-release title was Fires of Love . The film was based on one or both of Gordan Ray Young's stories entitled "Heathens" and "Blood of the Covenanters" which were owned by D. W. Griffith's production company. It is not known whether the stories were ever published. Exteriors for the film were shot in Fort Lauderdale, FL and on the island of New Providence in the Bahamas. On 10 Dec 1919, Griffith and the film's crew, while traveling from Florida to the Bahamas, were caught in a storm at sea and were missing for three days; speculations that the event was staged for publicity purposes were protested by Griffith and other members of the cast and crew.
       Modern sources state that Elmer Clifton worked as an assistant to Griffith on the production, and some writers have speculated that Clifton rather than Griffith directed the film, though this claim seems unlikely. Modern sources also state that James Smith was the film's editor. This was the last film appearance of Clarine Seymour, who died on 25 Apr 1920 at the age of ... More Less

The film's subtitle is A Story of the Southern Seas . Its pre-release title was Fires of Love . The film was based on one or both of Gordan Ray Young's stories entitled "Heathens" and "Blood of the Covenanters" which were owned by D. W. Griffith's production company. It is not known whether the stories were ever published. Exteriors for the film were shot in Fort Lauderdale, FL and on the island of New Providence in the Bahamas. On 10 Dec 1919, Griffith and the film's crew, while traveling from Florida to the Bahamas, were caught in a storm at sea and were missing for three days; speculations that the event was staged for publicity purposes were protested by Griffith and other members of the cast and crew.
       Modern sources state that Elmer Clifton worked as an assistant to Griffith on the production, and some writers have speculated that Clifton rather than Griffith directed the film, though this claim seems unlikely. Modern sources also state that James Smith was the film's editor. This was the last film appearance of Clarine Seymour, who died on 25 Apr 1920 at the age of twenty. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
ETR
3 Apr 20
p. 2007.
MPN
28 Feb 20
p. 2148.
MPN
3 Apr 20
p. 3169.
MPN
1 May 20
pp. 3800-01.
MPW
3 Apr 20
p. 137.
New York Times
22 Mar 20
p. 12.
Photoplay
Jun 1920
p. 67.
Variety
26 Mar 20
p. 50.
Wid's
28 Mar 20
p. 3.
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Fires of Love
Release Date:
21 March 1920
Copyright Claimant:
David W. Griffith
Copyright Date:
7 May 1920
Copyright Number:
LP15114
Physical Properties:
Silent
Black and White
Length(in feet):
7,033
Length(in reels):
7
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Mary, a beautiful half-caste girl raised with the natives of a South Sea island, gradually arouses the passion of beachcomber Dan McGuire, a derelict and a drunkard. One day, Walter Kincaid, the consumptive nephew of the island's missionary, comes to the island mission in search of his health. Walter is attracted to Mary, who uses his infatuation to inflame Dan's jealousy. Walter's sudden collapse brings both Mary and Dan to his bedside, and the two nonbelievers are so deeply moved by Walter's Christian spirit that Mary throws her wooden idol into the sea while Dan renounces alcohol. One day, while all of the island's male inhabitants except Walter are away on a fishing trip, a band of slave traders attacks the village, and Walter beats the war drum, alerting the islanders. Dan and the others rush back to the village and, after rescuing the women, find Walter in the throes of death, having been felled by the slavers after a fierce hand-to-hand battle. His death sanctifies Dan and Mary's love, and they are united in a Christian ... +


Mary, a beautiful half-caste girl raised with the natives of a South Sea island, gradually arouses the passion of beachcomber Dan McGuire, a derelict and a drunkard. One day, Walter Kincaid, the consumptive nephew of the island's missionary, comes to the island mission in search of his health. Walter is attracted to Mary, who uses his infatuation to inflame Dan's jealousy. Walter's sudden collapse brings both Mary and Dan to his bedside, and the two nonbelievers are so deeply moved by Walter's Christian spirit that Mary throws her wooden idol into the sea while Dan renounces alcohol. One day, while all of the island's male inhabitants except Walter are away on a fishing trip, a band of slave traders attacks the village, and Walter beats the war drum, alerting the islanders. Dan and the others rush back to the village and, after rescuing the women, find Walter in the throes of death, having been felled by the slavers after a fierce hand-to-hand battle. His death sanctifies Dan and Mary's love, and they are united in a Christian marriage. +

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.