"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
Not Quite Up to the Standards of Earlier Chaney/Browning Films
Where East is East (1929)
** 1/2 (out of 4)
Set in China, Lon Chaney plays animal trapper Tiger Haynes who has spent his entire life making sure his daughter (Lupe Velez) is happy. She informs him that she's going to marry a man (Lloyd Hughes) but soon her estranged mother (Estelle Taylor) shows up to cause trouble and try to steal the man from her. This would be the final time that star Chaney and director Browning would work together and sadly it's not nearly as good as many of their films together. This certainly isn't a bad movie but at the same time when you consider the talent involved you can't help but be somewhat disappointed. Those expecting a horror film or for that matter anything bizarre are going to be disappointed because this is a pretty straight melodrama. The story itself is a pretty weak one as you sit there waiting for some sort of big revelation to happen but it really never does. The story is played right down the middle and when the film is over you get pretty much everything you'd expect but at the same time you'll be wondering what the entire point was. There really aren't any major twists in the story and anyone will see the ending coming. What makes the film worth viewing are the performances with Chaney leading the way. It's a shame some people have labeled him (incorrectly) a "horror star" because he was always capable of so much more and you can see that here. It's hard to think of very many other actors who could deliver so much emotion in their face but Chaney delivers the goods and manages to make Tiger a memorable character. Thankfully he has a strong supporting cast with Taylor doing a terrific job in her part. The screenplay doesn't do her any favors but the actor is really terrific on screen and you can't help be drawn to her character. Velez is excellent in her role and manages to have a great relationship with Chaney. Their early scenes together are so fun because they really do come across as a real father and daughter. The sex appeal is also quite high with Velez. There's no question the screenplay is a problem but another issue is the direction by Browning. Those expecting to see that wonderful style and vision are going to be disappointed because this looks like anyone could have directed it. Browning turned in some lazy directorial jobs in this period and sadly this is one of them. With that said, fans of Chaney will certainly want to check it out and at just 67-minutes there's really nothing too bad that would make you want to stay away.
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