"Tiger" Haynes (Chaney) is a animal trapper in China who lives with his beautiful daughter, Toyo (Velez). Toyo soon becomes romantically involved with Bobby (Hughes), who turns out to be ... See full summary »
"Tiger" Haynes (Chaney) is a animal trapper in China who lives with his beautiful daughter, Toyo (Velez). Toyo soon becomes romantically involved with Bobby (Hughes), who turns out to be the son of one of Tiger's old friends. Tiger puts Bobby to work, but on one of their trips, Bobby becomes infatuated with Madame de Sylva (Taylor), who is in reality Toyo's mother and Tiger's ex-wife. When Madame de Sylva learns of Bobby's plans to marry Toyo, she interferes and trouble arises. Written by
I am not a big fan of silent movies, but occasionally when I see one on TCM I will give it a couple of minutes. In the case of Where East Is East, I saw the whole thing! Estelle Taylor is definitely the hottie in this film, and while she is 14 years older than Lupe Velez, Taylor looks awesome.
What surprised me about this film was that there was so much steamy innuendo. Taylor is on the prowl as soon as she comes on screen. She is all over her daughter's boyfriend, and for good measure, she is all over everyone else. At one point, she deep kisses her daughter's boyfriend on the mouth as she is hugging her daughter and the boyfriend. Then she kisses her daughter on the mouth too. It really seemed like racy stuff considering this film was done in 1929. The lesbian angle between Taylor and her girl servant is another kinky twist to this movie.
Lon Chaney is mostly the observer and the straight man. We get the average guy's reaction shots when he walks in on various situations, and we see Chaney as a loving father to Lupe Velez. Velez manages to be innocent and yet very sexy too. That is not easy, especially when you consider that all the emoting is being done in a silent movie.
The only actor that I thought was a bit of a dud was the boyfriend. He played his role of the good guy too well. I think if there had been a little bit of sleaziness in the character of the boyfriend, it would have made this film a lot more compelling, because the overtures of Taylor would have felt more sinister. As it is, all the sleaziness was carried on the back of Taylor, and the sleaze factor is what makes this movie so entertaining.
Overall, I thought this was a fascinating film. There was a lot of good acting and emoting going on, and it had adult situations that I never expected to see in a 1920s film.
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