Wild Seed (1965): Hutton’s Romantic Drama, Starring Michael Parks and Celia Kaye

Brian G. Hutton directed the modest b/w indie, Wild Seed, a love on the run romantic melodrama between two outsiders, played by Michael Parks and Celia Kay.

When the heroine, Daphne Simms (Kaye), a girl of 17, learns of her biological father from letters left by her deceased mother. She runs away from her New York home and adopted parents in search of him in Los Angeles.

Naive, unaware of the dangers on the road, she attempts to hitchhike. A seemingly nice, middle-aged man offers her a ride then takes her into a deserted area where he tries to abuse her. After escaping, she is stranded in the middle of nowhere, and eventually reaches a gas station.

Meeting there Fargo (Parks), initially, she’s wary of his attention (is he after money? sex?), but then joins him. Through run-ins with hobos and the police, arguments with and misunderstandings about each other, and a serious illness while on their journey, a close bond forms.

Upon arriving in L.A., she is disappointed with her father. At the hotel, Daphne’s adopted parents arrive and ask her to accompany them home. They express forgiveness and a willingness to accept Fargo. Fargo rejects the offer and tells Daphne go with her parents.

But later that night, he finds Daphne waiting, having decided to stay with him. Arms around each other, they walk along the dark street.

The script, originally titled Daffy, was written in 1957 and offered to Brando, but he was deemed too old (he was 33) for the part.

Made on a low budget, the film was impressively shot in 24 days. Producer Ruddy had shot two endings, one concluding with the couple’s separation, the other, happier, with their staying together.

The movie is tenderly quiet and the performances subtle and understated, allowing the two handler intimate melodrama to dig into their parts.

Michael Parks as Fargo
Celia Kaye as Daphne
Ross Elliott as Mr. Collinge
Woody Chambliss as Mr. Simms
Rupert Crosse as Hobo
Eva Novak as Mrs. Simms
Norman Burton as Policeman
Merritt Bohn as Constable
Al Lettieri as Bartender


I am grateful to TCM for showing the film on December 20, 2019.