"The Active Life of Dolly of the Dailies" is a frustrating film to watch. This is because it's an early movie serial that is broken into chapters--and only chapter five, "The Chinese Fan", is known to exist--and it was only just discovered recently in New Zealand! You wonder just how good the entire project was...
The film plays off the public's distrust of Chinese immigrants in the early 20th century. It also capitalizes off the sensational work of woman reporter Nellie Bligh in the 1880s and early 1890s. Americans were wowed by her exposées as well as her around the world tour--and Dolly of the Dailies is clearly modeled after her.
The plot involves the kidnapped daughter of a banker. Nellie thinks the dreaded Chinese tongs have captured her and she just barges right in--and gets herself captured--along with the banker's daughter. How can the two escape? See the film yourself! This is worth seeing just to see the historical significance. In addition to seeing what city life was at the time, you also get to see fire wagons being pulled by horses as well as see the views of the Chinese first hand.
Overall, very interesting and exciting--but also too short to interest folks who are not insane about film history (like I am). Interesting, that's for sure.
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