Schoolteacher Hisako Oishi struggles to imbue her students with a positive view of the world and their place in it, despite the fact that she knows full well that most of them will die in ... See full summary »
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
The original credits include a music score, conductor and orchestra, despite the film being a silent film. The Vitaphone Symphony Orchestra played at the first-run performance in New York, and the credit was also in printed programs distributed to the audience. See more »
The climax of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake might be model work made for the film, but it also looks like it might be stock footage (perhaps from Lon Chaney's movie THE SHOCK or something else). In any case, this film and THE SHOCK adopt the "cosmic retribution" angle that the dust-up was really a Gomorrah-like act of divine intervention against the Barbary excesses of Chinatown and such. Anna May Wong is thanklessly wasted as the sinfully exquisite assistant of future Charlie Chan Warner Oland, a ruthless land shark who doesn't let anyone know he's really Chinese. He keeps his jeering dwarf brother in a cage and terrorizes the heiress of an old Spanish family, whose righteous Christian iconography pierces his "mongol heart." He codifies the social and sexual threat of "passing" and miscegenation, which is depicted as repulsive to both races. But this is all articulated in religious terms. The anglos refer to his "heathen gods," while the Chinese get irate that he "betrays his ancestors." For a festival of Asian-American images in silent films, compare this with the more ambiguous sexual morality of Cecil B. DeMille's THE CHEAT with Sessue Hayakawa, the tragedy of Wong's role in THE TOLL OF THE SEA, the later films made by Hayakawa, or even Griffith's BROKEN BLOSSOMS.
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