|Index||3 reviews in total|
I saw Chapter 5, The Chinese Fan, at Cinecon 47. It was a beautifully restored print from an archive in New Zealand. An early serial from the Edison studios, it features a plucky female reporter who, in this episode, sets out to review a new play in Chinatown and then gets mixed up with the kidnappers of an heiress. It was interesting to see Dolly treated with respect by her colleagues at the newspaper where she worked. Early films obviously had no problems with strong female protagonists; where did they disappear to for the next 50 years! It's too bad the other episodes of this serial have been lost, but this one is a must-see for any student of film history.
"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.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
. . . by burning up a theater full of people? That's the way the heroine of this journalism serial, Dolly Desmond, thinks, as she conducts her life like THE GREAT GATBY's Daisy Buchanan on steroids, leaving human wreckage and havoc in her wake wherever she goes. The Arson in Chinatown comes toward the end of THE ACTIVE LIFE OF DOLLY OF THE DAILIES, Episode 5: The Chinese Fan. Produced by that old firebug himself, Tom Edison, this reporter for New York City's DAILY COMET newspaper is like a one-woman meteor taking dead aim on her home island. After rescuing a kidnap victim, does Dolly immediately inform the police and the anxious parents? Heck no, she parties all night with the freed captive, only taking time out to make sure her by-line is printed big enough on the front page of the next morning's edition. If you watch the ending of this 14-minute short closely enough, you will observe that Muriel's wealthy parents, the Armstrongs, learn of Muriel's rescue FROM THE PAPER--before Dolly belatedly brings their missing child home.
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