Idol Dancer, The

2217. THE IDOL DANCER (1920-usA). With RICHARD BARTHELMESS, CREIGHTON HALE. Directed by D.W. GRIFFITH. This melodrama of life and love on a South Seas island may not be as well-known as Griffith’s other masterpieces. Nonetheless, it is a winning yarn which abounds in sumptuous tropical atmosphere and romance. The setting is Rainbow Beach, a missionary stronghold located under the Southern Cross. One native girl who refuses to cover her body in a calico wrapper (the sign of a Christian convert) is White Almond Flower. The “blood of vivacious France, inscrutable Java and languorous Samoa mingle” in her veins. Two newcomers to the island paradise fall in love with White Almond Flower. The Beachcomber (portrayed with subtle perfection by Griffith favorite Richard Barthelmess) is “a derelict thrown upon the shore by shifting waves and winds of many adventures.” Walter Kincard is a missionary’s invalid nephew who has traveled halfway around the world to escape the harsh New England winter. The hearts of both men become inflamed when White Almond Flower stretches her arms and kicks her legs in a native dance. Trouble comes as the peaceful island erupts into chaos when a cannibal tribe headed by an evil white man called “The Blackbirder” prepares to attack Rainbow Beach. This act of savagery threatens the futures of White Almond Flower and her admirers, who by this time have been caught up in a tempestuous love triangle. The film is a tropical fable of unblemished love as only the master of the silent screen could tell it. “Silent” film with music score. 91 minutes. D.W. Griffith