Cast & Crew
D. W. Griffith
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.
D. W. Griffith
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 December 10, 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 April 25, 1920 at the age of twenty.