AFI Catalog of Feature Films
Movie Detail
Name Occurs Before Title Offscreen Credit Print Viewed By AFI
The Bottle Imp
Alternate Title: The Mountain Devil
Director: Marshall Neilan (Dir)
Release Date:   26 Mar 1917
Duration (in reels):   5
Print this page
Display Movie Summary

Cast:   Sessue Hayakawa (Lopaka)  
    Lehua Waipahu (Kokua)  
    H. Komshi (Keano)  
    George Kuwa (Makale)  
    Guy Oliver (Rollins)  
    James Neill (A priest)  

Summary: When Lopaka, a poor Hawaiian fisherman, falls in love with Kokua, a young girl of royal blood, her father refuses her hand until Lopaka can bring him two feather cloaks from a rare bird. While searching the mountains for the bird, Lopaka encounters a dying priest of Pele who sells him a wishing bottle in which Kono, the god of the volcanos, is confined. He is warned that the possessor of the bottle who dies still owning it will be damned and that the only way to rid oneself of the bottle is by selling it for a sum less than it was bought. Made rich by Kono, Lopaka marries Kokua and sells the bottle. He later finds himself in a terrible dilemma when, as a victim of leprosy, he is forced to buy the bottle back for the smallest coin of the realm. To save her husband from damnation, Kokua sacrifices herself by buying the bottle for a smaller French coin, but luckily a base and wicked sailor appears with a still smaller Chinese coin and becomes its final owner when the bottle is lost at sea. The wealth of Lopaka vanishes with the bottle, but he is content with Kokua by his side. 

Production Company: Jesse L. Lasky Feature Play Co.  
Distribution Company: Paramount Pictures Corp.  
Director: Marshall Neilan (Dir)
  William Horwitz (Asst dir)
Writer: Charles Maigne (Scen)
Photography: Walter Stradling (Cam)
Country: United States

Source Text: Based on the novel The Bottle Imp by Robert Louis Stevenson (London, 1891).
Authors: Robert Louis Stevenson

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
Jesse L. Lasky Feature Play Co. 22/3/1917 dd/mm/yyyy LP10420

Physical Properties: b&w:

Genre: Drama
Subjects (Major): Genies
  Mythical characters
Subjects (Minor): Fishermen

Note: This picture was shot in Hawaii according to press releases. The original title of the scenario was "The Mountain Devil." The continuity for this film included in the studio records states that the film begins with Robert Louis Stevenson, played by James Neill, reading the story of The Bottle Imp to a little boy and girl. 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
ETR   31 Mar 17   p. 1180.
Motog   14 Apr 17   p. 796.
MPN   7 Apr 17   p. 2194.
MPW   7 Apr 17   p. 113, 162
NYDM   31 Mar 17   p. 26.
Wid's   29 Mar 17   p. 202.

Display Movie Summary
The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
Advanced Search
Support our efforts to preserve hisotory of film
Help AFI Preserve Film History

© 2017 American Film Institute.
All rights reserved.
Terms of use.