A large studio movie typically costs roughly $65 million to create. However, production costs do not include distribution and marketing, which adds another $35 million or so to the entire cost of producing and marketing a blockbuster film, bringing the total cost to around $100 million.
The Toll of the Sea is a silent American drama film directed by Chester M. Franklin and released by Metro Pictures in 1922. It stars Anna May Wong in her debut main role. Wong and Kenneth Harlan star in the picture, which was scripted by Frances Marion and directed by Chester M. Franklin. The tale was based on the Madama Butterfly story, except it was set in China rather than Japan.
The picture was the second Technicolor movie, the first color feature made in Hollywood, and the first Technicolor color feature that didn’t require a special projector for showing anywhere. The picture premiered at the Rialto Theatre in New York City on November 26, 1922, and was released to the general public on January 22, 1923.
Lotus Flower, a young Chinese woman, notices an unconscious man drifting in the water near the beach and rushes to his aid. Allen Carver, an American, is the man in question. Soon after, the two fall in love and marry in traditional Chinese style. When Carver returns home, he pledges to take her with him.
Lotus Flower’s friends tell her that he will abandon her, and one claims that she has been abandoned by four American spouses, but she refuses to believe them. Carver’s friends, however, persuade him not to keep his commitment, and he returns to the United States alone.
Much greater lighting levels were required since the Technicolor camera split the lens picture into two beams to expose two film frames simultaneously through color filters at twice the standard frames per second. The Toll of the Sea was shot entirely in natural light and outdoors, with the exception of one ‘inside’ scene, which was shot in the sunlight behind a muslin sheet.