Why did I choose this film? I find it interesting how cinema portrays mental health professionals over the years. One of the earliest portrayals of a mental health professional in cinema was in this movie in the year 1922. Whereas the film is not that great, it is worth noting for this very reason. The same year is also when the first 3-D feature film was shown to an audience; it is the year Anna Wong, the first Asian-American leading lady debuted; the year Nosferatu, our beloved vampire made his appearance and the year Rin tin tin the German Shepherd became famous as the first canine star. It happens to be the year the first Walt Disney Cartoon (Little Red Riding Hood) was released (couldn’t resist mentioning all that).
What’s the film about? This movie is about a man (the hero) who goes to a psychologist/mesmerist as a result of the agony that he is undergoing. The hero, Mr. Burke, is a well-to-do gentleman from New York, politically inclined, who travels to the South Sea Islands and falls in love with Rita, the daughter of the captain of a contraband ship. He decides to stay longer on the islands. Enter Lady Helen, who likes him and would make the perfect match for him – on paper. Deeply conflicted, he goes to a psychologist, Prof.Jansen to find out which of the two women he should marry. The psychologist hypnotises him and we flashforward to two dream sequences. In one he’s shown a vision of what his life would be with Helen (fame, material comforts, political power but no love) and in the other with Rita (happy but not rich). In his hypnotic trance he also sees Rita’s father’s first mate fire a shot at him. The psychologist is unable to interpret the meaning of this ghastly occurence. Although Burke remains undecided for awhile, on seeing Rita, his decision is at once made and they unite (happily ever after).