Cast & Crew
In 1890, two British expatriates, Robert Herrick and Huish, and German Captain Jakob Thorbecke, are commissioned to sail a Yankee schooner called The Golden State , whose captain and crew have died of smallpox. From Tehua in the South Seas to Australia, they are to deliver a cargo of champagne. Thorbecke decides to head for Peru, however, so he can sell the merchandise and pocket the money. While sailing, Faith Wishart, daughter of the deceased captain, comes out of her hiding place on board and, by briefly holding Thorbecke at gunpoint, demands he make the delivery. She shoots Thorbecke, but he receives only a skin wound and turns the ship toward Peru. In the hold, Huish gets drunk on champagne, and when Thorbecke joins him, he confesses that he sunk his own ship because he had been drunk. A typhoon hits, and after Robert and Thorbecke save the ship, Thorbecke resolves to sober up. He spills the champagne and discovers that the rest of the bottles are filled with water. When they find a jug of acid, they realize that Faith's father had been planning to sabotage the ship for insurance money. Because the ship is crippled and they have only a week's worth of food left, they stop at Kanaki, a seemingly deserted island. They find, however, that an American named Attwater, his two Kanaki guards and female servant are living luxuriously on the island, the only survivors of a smallpox infestation. Attwater has been mining pearls illegally on the British-owned island and is apparently insane. When Thorbecke and Huish plot to rob him, Attwater forces them back to their ship. He is enchanted by Faith, however, who has swum ashore, and plans to keep her with him, unaware that she is in love with Robert. Thorbecke and Huish return to the island intending to throw acid in Attwater's face, but their plan fails and he shoots them to death. Shortly thereafter, Attwater's native guard sees him trip and fall and, realizing he is not a god as he had formerly believed, refuses to protect him from Robert. Robert leaves Attwater alone on the island to count his pearls, while he, Faith, and the remaining islanders set sail for home, fully provisioned.
James P. Spencer
David K. Hope
A. E. Freudeman
This was Lucien Hubbard's first production with Paramount. According to Motion Picture Herald, this was the first major film to use color photography at sea. Oscar Homolka made his American film debut by, as stated on screen, "arrangement with Gaumont British Picture Corp., Ltd." An Hollywood Reporter news item indicates that Henry Hathaway was originally slated to direct this film, however, was unable to do so due to his prior commitment to Paramount's Souls at Sea. The film's press book gives the following information about the production: Isobel Field, Robert Louis Stevenson's stepdaughter, visited the set. A South Seas village was recreated on Santa Catalina Island, CA, for which Paramount imported tropical vegetation from Hawaii and tropical fish from Tahiti, and another village was built on the Paramount Ranch in Malibu, CA. The filmmakers changed the name of the schooner in the story to accommodate the real name of the schooner used, The Golden State, which had been sailing for thirty years. The typhoon scene reportedly cost over $100,000 to produce. Selig produced a three-reel version of Ebb Tide in 1915, and Paramount released Ebb Tide in 1922, a silent feature based on the same source, directed by George Melford and starring Lila Lee and James Kirkwood (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1921-30; F2.1512). In 1947 Paramount released Adventure Island, also based on the Stevenson novel, which was directed by Peter Stewart and starred Rory Calhoun, Rhonda Fleming and Paul Kelly.