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 »
Anna May Wong may have been one of the most beautiful women in film history. She should have been a huge star but obviously racial prejudices of the time prevented it and Hollywood certainly badly misused her. In this film,made in England by the great E.A.DuPont, she proves that she could act as well as look good. Notice her controlled facial expressions and body movements....they are very low key in a time when acting was often over the top and bordering on "hammy".
The story concerns the rise of Ms. Wong (Shosho) as a dancer and inamorata of nightclub owner, Valentin (Jameson Thomas)....much to the distress of Mabel (Gilda Gray) as the featured act at the Picadilly and also a lover of the owner. Ms. Gray looks fat and frumpy and the line "You're too old for him" spoken to her by Shosho rings true. Things go from bad to worse and lead to the scene in Shosho's apartment which is the highlight of the film. Ms. Wong is absolutely terrific. Murder happens and the mysterious Jimmy gets involved. The resolution of that murder is unsatisfying and the ensuing trial mirrors the racial stereotypes of the times.
But all that aside, if you want to see a gloriously stunning woman and a wonderful performance, see this film. And by the way.....if you can figure out exactly what the relationship between Shosho and Jimmy is, let me know!
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