Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

OVERLOOKED FILM: THE IDOL DANCER (1920)

Is this the worst film of D. W. Griffith's career?  If not, it certainly is a close runner-up. 

A South Seas tale filmed in Florida, The Idol Dancer is an overblown, moralistic, racist piece of dribble.

Dan McGuire (Richard Barthelmess) is a washed-up, drunken beachcomber attracted to Mary (Clarine Seymour), the mixed race "Idol Dancer" of the title.  Mary is known by the natives as "white Almond Flower."  Along comes Walter Kincaid (Creighton Hale), the uptight nephew of the local missionary.  Mary's wild dancing excites Walter and he and Dan vie for this uninhibited woman.

Also appearing is Pansy (Florence Short), a native who takes to Christian dress and ideas, then quickly sheds them.  Pansy's brief dance number is one of the high points of the film.

The main story seems to be about missionaries trying to put pants on natives.  Interspersed with all the above is a racist soap opera involving various people of various races.  Unlike Griffith's BIRTH OF A NATION, this flick had nothing worthwhile to balance out the blatant racism.

The scenery is nice, though.

The film is at the link below for the curious.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i30LuMFQKkE&t=0s&index=237&list=PLMK0Qsm2Ca-QeVPrOjsrlbKicmNtH18jn

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