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HISTORY

The 8 Dec 1917 Motography reported that the company was traveling to Hawaii for location filming. The article explained that the U.S. government had commandeered the majority of Pacific Ocean liners for the war effort, relegating civilians to smaller vessels. Lead actor Sessue Hayakawa complained via telegram that the voyage was “rough and uncomfortable.” In addition to making Hidden Pearls, director George H. Melford was also assigned to film the funeral ceremony for Hawaiian Queen Liliuokalani, who died nearly a month earlier. On 22 Dec 1917, Motion Picture News announced the company’s impending return to the mainland. An item in the 5 Jan 1918 Moving Picture World identified primary filming locations as the island of Hilo, and the Kilauea volcano on the island of Hawaii. The company also spent three weeks in an unidentified village, documenting the activities of native islanders. According to the 19 Jan 1918 Motion Picture News, set builders constructed a “native city in one day on the beach at Kalapana.” Included among the crew were cameramen Henry Kotani and Edward Rice.
       The Paramount press book credited John Burton with the role of "Capt. Todd" and Charles H. Geldert as "Senator Benton."
       The Hidden Pearls opened 18 Feb 1918 to positive reviews: The 16 Feb 1918 Moving Picture World recommended the film for its exotic locations, and the 23 Feb 1918 Motion Picture News complimented scenarist Beulah Marie Dix for her sympathetic approach to Hayakawa’s character, Euro-Polynesian “Tom Garvin.” Box-office reports in the 23 Mar 1918 Motion Picture News ... More Less

The 8 Dec 1917 Motography reported that the company was traveling to Hawaii for location filming. The article explained that the U.S. government had commandeered the majority of Pacific Ocean liners for the war effort, relegating civilians to smaller vessels. Lead actor Sessue Hayakawa complained via telegram that the voyage was “rough and uncomfortable.” In addition to making Hidden Pearls, director George H. Melford was also assigned to film the funeral ceremony for Hawaiian Queen Liliuokalani, who died nearly a month earlier. On 22 Dec 1917, Motion Picture News announced the company’s impending return to the mainland. An item in the 5 Jan 1918 Moving Picture World identified primary filming locations as the island of Hilo, and the Kilauea volcano on the island of Hawaii. The company also spent three weeks in an unidentified village, documenting the activities of native islanders. According to the 19 Jan 1918 Motion Picture News, set builders constructed a “native city in one day on the beach at Kalapana.” Included among the crew were cameramen Henry Kotani and Edward Rice.
       The Paramount press book credited John Burton with the role of "Capt. Todd" and Charles H. Geldert as "Senator Benton."
       The Hidden Pearls opened 18 Feb 1918 to positive reviews: The 16 Feb 1918 Moving Picture World recommended the film for its exotic locations, and the 23 Feb 1918 Motion Picture News complimented scenarist Beulah Marie Dix for her sympathetic approach to Hayakawa’s character, Euro-Polynesian “Tom Garvin.” Box-office reports in the 23 Mar 1918 Motion Picture News revealed that the picture was especially popular in the Western U.S. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Motion Picture News
22 Dec 1917
p. 4351
Motion Picture News
19 Jan 1918
p. 412
Motion Picture News
23 Feb 1918
pp. 1181=11182
Motion Picture News
23 Mar 1918
p. 1718
Motography
8 Dec 1917
p. 1178, 1189
Motography
30 Mar 1918
p. 641
Moving Picture World
5 Jan 1918
p. 108
Moving Picture World
16 Feb 1918
p. 1003
Moving Picture World
23 Feb 1918
p. 1141
NYDM
16 Feb 1918
p. 18
Paramount Press Book
23 Mar 1918
---
Wid's Daily
7 Feb 1918
pp. 930-931
DETAILS
Release Date:
18 February 1918
Production Date:
December 1917
Copyright Claimant:
Jesse L. Lasky Feature Play Co., Inc.
Copyright Date:
4 February 1918
Copyright Number:
LP12023
Physical Properties:
Silent
Black and White
Length(in reels):
5
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Tom Garvin, the son of an American pearl trader and a Hawaiian princess, knows nothing about island culture, having been reared on the U.S. mainland. Upon learning that Tom has lost his family's fortune, Enid Benton expresses her refusal to marry a poor man and breaks their engagement. In Honolulu, HI, Tom's uncle, John Garvin, informs the young man of a rich store of pearls hidden on his mother's island. Discovering that he is now the rightful king of the island, Tom arrives to a warm greeting from the natives. The beautiful Tahona falls in love with Tom and reveals where the pearls are hidden, enabling him to steal the treasure and escapes to Honolulu. However, Enid's cold manner and his own conscience effect a change in Tom, and he soon returns to the island, where he and Tahona rule as king and ... +


Tom Garvin, the son of an American pearl trader and a Hawaiian princess, knows nothing about island culture, having been reared on the U.S. mainland. Upon learning that Tom has lost his family's fortune, Enid Benton expresses her refusal to marry a poor man and breaks their engagement. In Honolulu, HI, Tom's uncle, John Garvin, informs the young man of a rich store of pearls hidden on his mother's island. Discovering that he is now the rightful king of the island, Tom arrives to a warm greeting from the natives. The beautiful Tahona falls in love with Tom and reveals where the pearls are hidden, enabling him to steal the treasure and escapes to Honolulu. However, Enid's cold manner and his own conscience effect a change in Tom, and he soon returns to the island, where he and Tahona rule as king and queen. +

GENRE
Genre:


Subject

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.