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This film is one of over 200 titles in the list of independent feature films made available for television presentation by Advance Television Pictures announced in Motion Picture Herald 4 April 1942. At this time, television broadcasting was in its infancy, almost totally curtailed by the advent of World War II, and would not continue to develop until 1945-1946. Because of poor documentation (feature films were often not identified by title in conventional sources) no record has yet been found of its initial television broadcast. See more »
So bad it's fun to watch; really a relic of twenties social mentality
I watched "Chinatown After Dark" (1931) with Carmel Myers, Barbara Kent, Rex Lease, Edmund Breese, Frank Mayo, and Billy Gilbert. Wow!! Utterly unbelievable! Gilbert as a sneezing cop - in a half-way serious role, although it's a light part - is simply over-the-top for modern audiences. Would possibly have played better 90 years ago. But it's up against a group of Chinese in America (all played by American Caucasians!) who are bad, bad, bad. Except for Lotus, played by beautiful Barbara Kent, who turns out to be white (her father died and only a Chinese man played by Edmund Breese would take her in and raise her - yeah, right...)... Story concerns a dagger that happens to contain a very large and beautiful - and extremely valuable - stone...hidden inside the dagger, of course...
Rex Lease not playing a cowboy is something of a wonder in and of itself. His brother, played by Frank Mayo, has about as much energy as molasses dried on a plate. Carmel Myers, as a Chinese gang leader, is about as realistic as me being Chinese. Edmund Breese played Chinese several times - I've got him in several of these performances - and he's actually fairly good, although his part doesn't last very long.
This not only was shot on the cheap, but it screams the fact to the viewer. In fact, the scream is so loud it may remind someone of insanity where a scream inside the head won't go away!! Some of the acting is so bad as to be laughable. The film, I must admit, however, is still fun to watch. I'm not sure why. But I could actually recommend this to early film lovers of the transition period from silent to sound. This one has most of the technical faults, and it's a good study piece for that reason. Otherwise, be warned. I'll leave it at that.
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