In an unidentified airplane flying over the ocean in which six aliens are huddled, alien-smugglers Frank Barden and Andrew Sleete are trying to evade a government pursuit plane. They dump the screaming "evidence" into the sea. Escaping pursuit, they later approach wealthy merchant Quan Lin and demand he take some aliens off of their hands. They kill him when he refuses. Lan Ying Lin, his daughter, goes to wealthy society matron Mrs. Mary Hunt for help. She introduces her to an inspector and Kim Lee, a government agent. Unknown to all, Mrs. Hunt is the power behind the smuggling ring. Turning detective to catch her father's killers, Lan Ying Lin finds herself on a remote island where she takes a job as a dancer in a honky-tonk operated by Otto Hartman, and discovers the island resort is a blind for an alien receiving station. She gets the evidence on Hartman and flees the island with agent Lee, disguised as a man, in the hold of the smuggling vessel. They are discovered by the ship's ... Written by
Les Adams <firstname.lastname@example.org>
One of over 700 Paramount Productions, filmed between 1929 and 1949, which were sold to MCA/Universal in 1958 for television distribution, and have been owned and controlled by Universal ever since. See more »
These are indeed heady times for fans of the actress Anna May Wong. Not only are there two (2!) biographies of the woman in recent release, but a documentary of Anna May's life is purportedly in the works, a restored print of Wong's late silent classic "Piccadilly" has just been released, AND, for those lucky of us to live in NYC, an Anna May Wong retrospective has just unreeled in this town's Museum of Modern Art. Although hugely popular in the 1920s and '30s, up until recently Hollywood's first Asian actress of any kind of renown has languished in relative obscurity, known only to fans of old-timey movies...perhaps. When I told some coworkers that I was going to see some Anna May, I half expected them to make some remark about Japanese comics (anime). I have been a fan of Ms. Wong's for many years now, although that fandom has been largely based on just a handful of films, most especially the 1932 von Sternberg classic "Shanghai Express." Her part in this picture is not large, but she makes such a mysterious and exotic impression that that brief performance was enough to make a convert of me. With the exception of the 1949 film noir "Impact" and one or two others, though, it has been extremely hard for fans of this once-famous actress to see her other work. It was therefore with great anticipation that I attended the MoMA's double bill of two of Anna May's rare '30s work: "Dangerous to Know" and "Daughter of Shanghai." The first is a compact little B picture, in which Anna May is the kept mistress of crime boss Akim Tamiroff. It was a lot of fun, and very interesting, but the latter is the one that I really enjoyed. Anna May is without question the star of "DOS," and the picture, although admittedly in the B category, is as fun as can be. In this one, Ms. Wong plays the daughter of a Chinese shop owner in San Francisco. When her dad is killed by alien smugglers who are pressuring him into taking on a load of their human cargo, Anna May goes undercover to track down the bad guys. Her quest takes her to Central America, where she winds up taking a job as a dancer in one of the seediest dives you've ever seen on film. The owner of this joint is Charles Bickford, who is believed to be one of the heads of the smuggling operation. "DOS" features some surprisingly gritty action scenes, and some real cliffhanger moments. Ms. Wong is aided in her quest to smash the alien smugglers by a G-man played by Philip Ahn. I'd never seen Mr. Ahn play a "good guy" before; he was so often cast as a sneaky weasel type. Anyway, he's very effective in the role of Anna May's partner. J. Carrol Naish and Anthony Quinn (in a very early role) are both hissably fun as two of the nasty smugglers. It is really quite remarkable how much story and action are packed into this film's short, 63-minute running time. And for fans of Anna May Wong, the picture is heavenly. What a delight it is to see this charming actress take the lead role in a smashing action picture, and go undercover in that Central American sleazepit. The audience at the MoMA burst into spontaneous applause at the conclusion of this nifty B picture, and that applause was certainly merited. This is one fun hour at the movies!
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