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The Vasquez family are one of the oldest families in San Francisco, but their day of glory is past and now all that remains of them are an old man and his granddaughter, the innocent Dolores. The villainous Chris Buckwell wants to steal their land and ranch from them, even using unfair means to get his hands on it. One of his employees' has a nephew who falls for Dolores, however, and together they make plans to save the ranch. Unfortunately for them, Buckwell has a secret and discovering it might prove dangerous. Written by
Through 1906, the proud Vasquez family has prospered in San Francisco; it is the land the Spanish family helped conquer, and settle. The sweetest rose in the Vasquez Rancho's fair garden is dreamy Dolores Costello (as Dolores Vasquez). Senorita Costello catches the eye, and heart, of Irish gentleman Charles Emmett Mack (as Terrence O'Shaughnessy), a business acquaintance distrusted by patriarch Josef Swickard (as Don Hernandez de Vasquez). Mr. Swickard wants his grand-daughter to marry another Spaniard, preferably a rich one. Then, cruel and crafty Warner Oland (as Chris Buckwell) and his Chinese "Mongol" gang threaten Dolores' life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness.
A relatively well-produced Darryl F. Zanuck silent. The time and place of "Old San Francisco" gives away the ending; of course, it's the great 1906 earthquake. Photographer Hal Mohr and director Alan Crosland collaborate for some nice images; for example, the shadowy Oland/Mack fight, and Chinatown's underground labyrinth. Supporting player Anna May Wong barely appears; but, Angelo Rossita is cute as a caged dwarf related to the villainous Mr. Oland.
Unfortunately, the story wavers between ludicrous and despicable. If it weren't all so silly, it might have been even more offensive.
*** Old San Francisco (6/21/27) Alan Crosland ~ Dolores Costello, Charles Emmett Mack, Warner Oland
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