The star attraction of the Piccadilly Club is the dancing team of Mabel and Vic. Victor is infatuated with Mabel, but she rejects his advances, since she is in love with Valentine Wilmot, the club's owner. One night, as Mabel and Vic perform their act, there is a disruption caused by a customer who is unhappy about a dirty plate. When Wilmot goes back to the kitchen to investigate, he finds several employees in the scullery watching Shosho, one of the dishwashers, dancing on a table. That night, Wilmot fires both Shosho and Victor. But the club's sagging fortunes soon lead him to re-evaluate Shosho's talent. Written by
This film was screened for free at the Royal Festival Hall in London on Saturday 12th September 2009 as part of the Thames Festival. It was accompanied by a live performance of a new score written by Ruth Chen and Suki Mok. See more »
During the inquest, the handgun is repeatedly referred to as a revolver. It is obviously a small semiautomatic, and not a revolver. See more »
The opening credits appear on the sides of London buses. See more »
Film's shortcomings more than redeemed by Anna May Wong
An enjoyable film with some great characters and an interesting story. The version I saw has an inappropriate and often irritating score that sounds about forty years too modern, and drastically takes away from the flapper-age energy and dance scenes. The beginning of the film is tedious, choosing to dwell a bit long on setting the scene, but once the main characters are introduced and the story begins to unfold, it captures and holds your attention.
Anna May Wong contributes the film's best performance. She has that rare, powerful aura that illuminates the screen, like Greta Garbo or Louise Brooks. When her character, Sho-Sho, is in a scene, you can only focus on her, and she carries you away with intensity conveyed by only the merest subtle expression.
The other actors were "okay" but nothing special. The characters of Victor and Mabel, presumably popular and adored dancers, failed to convince me that they had any charisma whatsoever. Sho-Sho's scenes with Valentine, the club owner who wants to make her a star (and his lover) are mesmerising, showing passion and titillating innuendo. But the really interesting relationship is that of Sho-Sho with "Jim", a Chinese fellow who seems to live with her -- is he a brother? a lover? it is unclear, but he is totally submissive to her and proud and jealous at the same time. She treats him like a dog, but they obviously have a close bond and need each other.
As a film in general, "Picadilly" is lacking on a few levels, but it is completely redeemed by Anna May Wong's presence. I can't give it a high rating overall, but I highly recommend it to Anna May Wong fans.
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