Cast & Crew
On a South Sea island, Ilanu, a half-caste, does not want to marry Kahea, a man of her tribe, but instead desires American Jimmy Bradford, who has been on the island for nearly a year overseeing his father's copra interests. After rebuking Kahea, Ilanu finds Jimmy sulking because he hungers for the life he has left. When she finds he exhibits no interest in her, she leaves him in tears. Old Ben, who brags he once earned three degrees at Harvard, warns Jimmy not to get involved with a native girl by pointing to his six half-caste children and quoting Kipling. Jimmy writes to his sweetheart Elaine Marvin back in America. That night, Ilanu tearfully begins the Dance of Love, a ceremony her grandfather, the chief, has ordered her to dance. She soon stops, however, tears her lei off and refuses to continue, despite her grandfather's reminder that her mother found only trouble marrying a white man and finally was driven to the arms of the volcanic Fire Goddess. Ilanu is then told to go and never return to her people. Just then a boat comes, but Jimmy is disappointed to find that his father still has not sent for him. When Ilanu comes into the bar and a sailor grabs her, Jimmy slugs him and tells Ilanu to go home. She follows him to his room and tells him she now has no home. He almost kisses her, but when a lustful onlooker chides them, Jimmy kicks Ilanu out. Feeling remorseful, Jimmy follows Ilanu to the beach, and they declare their love for each other. They marry and Jimmy brings Ilanu back to San Francisco. During a party in Jimmy's honor, Jimmy's sister Winnie gets Ilanu to do an island dance, which the Parkers, possible investors in Bradford's company, find vulgar. Bradford, greatly upset, orders Jimmy to send Ilanu back and says he will get the marriage annulled, but Jimmy stands firm and leaves with Ilanu for the islands. Jimmy works in a stock room, and he and Ilanu live in poverty. When Kahea visits to tell Ilanu that her grandfather forgave her as he died and bequeathed her some pearls, Jimmy sees them together and mistakenly thinks they are lovers. After Ilanu calms Jimmy with the truth, Elaine visits and tells him that his father is gravely ill. Jimmy returns home and lets his dying father think he has left Ilanu. Jimmy takes over the family business, but after three years, Ilanu and Winnie, who lives with them, battle after Winnie fires the governess whom Ilanu had hired to care for her and Jimmy's child Junior and hires her own. To calm things, Jimmy takes them all back to the islands on a vacation cruise. Winnie gets Ilanu drunk, and Junior, trying to wake his mother, falls into the ocean and is rescued by Elaine. Upset by the incident, Jimmy orders Ilanu to keep away from Junior. Ilanu then overhears guests say she will ruin Junior's life, and as the yacht nears the island, she sees the bubbling volcano and cries. She kisses Junior through the glass that separates them, then rows to the volcano. Jimmy, who has been persuaded by Elaine to apologize to Ilanu, sees her in the boat and hears Kahea sing "Aloha Oe." Kahea says the song means farewell and tells Jimmy that Ilanu is going to join her mother. Jimmy chases Ilanu in a motorboat, but she jumps into the volcano before he can reach her. Junior asks for his mother, then asks Elaine to play. Elaine holds him and cries, while Jimmy stands on the beach in distress.
T. Roy Barnes
Al St. John
According to Film Daily, the Sultana, one of the most famous yachts of the time, was used in some of the scenes. At the time of filming, the yacht belonged to John P. Mills, noted capitalist and turfman. Previously it belonged to E. H. Harriman. This film was based on the 1915 film Aloha Oe, produced by Thomas Ince, directed by Richard Stanton and Charles Swickard and starring Willard Mack and Enid Markey (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1911-20; F1.0073).