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The World of Suzie Wong
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The World of Suzie Wong (1960) More at IMDbPro »

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The World of Suzie Wong -- Robert Lomax tired of working in an office, wants to be an artist. So he moves to Hong Kong to try his hand at painting. Finding a cheap hotel he checks in, only to find it's used by prostitutes and their 'dates' who meet in the bar downstairs. Since he never picks up any of ladies, they all want to know more about him. Eventually he does hire one to model for him, but soon falls in love. But, since he's on a limited budget, he can't afford her exclusively, and doesn't want to 'share' her.


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Paul Osborn (adaptation)
Richard Mason (novel)
View company contact information for The World of Suzie Wong on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
1961 (Austria) See more »
The most tender and touching love story of our time! See more »
Robert Lomax, tired of working in an office, wants to be an artist. So he moves to Hong Kong to try his hand at painting... See more » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Won Golden Globe. Another 1 win & 3 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
Dated, but, Basically, a Bicultural Love Story Told with Feeling See more (37 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

William Holden ... Robert Lomax

Nancy Kwan ... Suzie Wong

Sylvia Syms ... Kay O'Neill

Michael Wilding ... Ben Marlowe
Jacqueline Chan ... Gwennie Lee (as Jacqui Chan)
Laurence Naismith ... O'Neill
Yvonne Shima ... Minnie Ho
Andy Ho ... Ah Tong
Lier Hwang ... Wednesday Lu

Bernard Cribbins ... Otis

Edwina Carroll ... Mrs. Marlowe
Dervis Ward ... British Sailor
Marian Spencer ... Dinner Guest
Lionel Blair ... Dancing Sailor
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Ronald Wilson ... (uncedited)
Rodney Dines ... American Sailor (uncredited)
Ronald Eng ... Waiter (uncredited)
Calvin Hsia ... Suzie's Baby (uncredited)
David Langton ... Police Inspector (uncredited)
Shan Lawrence ... Girl (uncredited)

Robert Lee ... Barman (uncredited)
Anthony Parker ... American Sailor (uncredited)
Toke Townley ... Waiter (uncredited)

Directed by
Richard Quine 
Writing credits
Paul Osborn (adaptation)

Richard Mason (novel)

John Patrick (screenplay)

Produced by
Hugh Perceval .... producer
Ray Stark .... executive producer
Original Music by
George Duning 
Cinematography by
Geoffrey Unsworth (director of photography)
Film Editing by
Bert Bates 
Art Direction by
John Box 
Costume Design by
Phyllis Dalton 
Makeup Department
Bill Griffiths .... hairdressing
Neville Smallwood .... makeup artist
George Partleton .... makeup artist (uncredited)
Production Management
R.L.M. Davidson .... production manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Gus Agosti .... assistant director
Gus Angus .... third assistant director (uncredited)
David Bracknell .... second assistant director (uncredited)
Art Department
Syd Cain .... assistant art director (as Sydney Cain)
Elizabeth Moore .... paintings (as Elizabeth Moore)
Roy Rossotti .... set dresser
Sound Department
Roy Baker .... sound editor
Gerry Turner .... sound recordist
Camera and Electrical Department
Cecil Cooney .... camera operator (as Ces Cooney)
Peter Hazel .... clapper (uncredited)
Dennis C. Lewiston .... camera focus (uncredited)
Casting Department
Joe Powell .... extras casting (uncredited)
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Betty Adamson .... wardrobe mistress (uncredited)
Joan Joseff .... costume jeweller (uncredited)
Editorial Department
Valerie Leslie .... assistant editor
Music Department
Muir Mathieson .... conductor
Reg Owen .... orchestrator
Other crew
Angela Allen .... continuity
Joshua Logan .... original stage director
David Merrick .... original stage producer
Pat Moon .... production secretary (uncredited)
Maggie Unsworth .... assistant to producer (uncredited)
Crew believed to be complete

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
126 min
Color (Technicolor)
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Westrex Recording System)
Finland:K-16 | Netherlands:18 (orginal rating) | Sweden:15 | UK:A | USA:Approved (certificate #19621) | West Germany:16 (original rating)

Did You Know?

In the opening scenes as the Kowloon Ferry heads toward Hong Kong, navy ship St. Clair County (LST-1096)can be seen anchored in the harbor.See more »
Continuity: When Robert Lomax (Holden) begins to strip the European clothes off Suzy Wong (Kwan), her hair is piled smartly up under her cap and can be seen to remain that way. However, when Lomax goes to pull the cap off her head, Suzy's long tresses are fully down and covering her back.See more »
Robert Lomax:If I were a prizefighter, and I kept getting my brains knocked out, I'd be foolish if I didn't quit.See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in Hollywood Chinese (2007)See more »
The World of Suzie WongSee more »


Box Office---Was "Suzie Wong" a HIt?
See more »
31 out of 42 people found the following review useful.
Dated, but, Basically, a Bicultural Love Story Told with Feeling, 3 July 2004
Author: woolrich2-1 from VA., U.S.A.

American William Holden, as former architect turned struggling artist, Robert Lomax, a cynic who's "pushing forty," arrives in 1960 Hong Kong to make a valiant effort for his art. He's never been there and has no idea what to expect. On the ferry boat to Kowloon, he has a sort of altercation with the very young & attractive Nancy Kwan, who claims to be named "Mei Li," a very proper young lady about to enter into an arranged marriage set up by her wealthy father. Shortly before reluctantly introducing herself, she also almost manages to have Robert arrested by claiming he's a purse snatcher, which, judging from her mirthful expression, she does for the sheer entertainment value of the situation.

Robert, completely lost and not particularly wealthy, soon makes his way to the Wan Chai district, and, in his naivete as American abroad, fails to realize he's entered the main prostitution district in the city. His journey to the seedy hotel where he sets up shop as artist would be one of the highlights of the film: Robert's amazement and confusion at the bustling, vibrant city that has become his new home come across nicely. In many ways, the brilliant cinematography and camera work turn the city of Hong Kong itself into the unacknowledged third star of the film. However, it's a very different Hong Kong than now: very much a British colonial post, and, in segments of the neighborhoods, almost a Third World city.

Unfortunately, once Robert reaches the hotel, the movie loses much realism, and we've plainly entered a 1950's Hollywood set version of Hong Kong, complete with cartoonish prostitutes and Brit sailors on leave. It turns out that prim-and-proper Mei Li's none other than "very popular" Wan Chai "girl" Suzie Wong. There are some very dated scenes that follow, although actress Jacqui Chan's charming in an off kilter way as bar girl Gwennie Lee. Nancy Kwan vamps and spouts much pidgin English and says "for goodness' sake" about 500 times in a row. Fortunately, Robert, Suzie, and the camera eventually hit the streets of actual Hong Kong again.

Then, something odd happens with this film, bit by bit. The movie focuses more and more on Robert and Suzie as a couple, and, bit by bit, Suzie becomes less of a stereotypical bar girl and more and more of a human being who behaves unexpectedly. It turns out that she has developed a persona for herself, a very manipulative, successful one, that's given her an edge in a very harsh city for abandoned young women. She has an active fantasy life, that's enabled her to separate herself psychologically from the more sordid aspects of what she's done in order to survive. Robert too, becomes less and less Joe Gillis, Jr. (for those of you who've seen Holden in SUNSET BLVD. from a decade earlier), a one-note, crabby cynic with a paternalistic attitude towards Suzie, and more and more a human being who's in love. He shows this most plainly when he finds out that Suzie has an infant son, and Robert accepts little Winston affectionately as his own. In a complex way, Suzie, and also little Winston, act as muses for Robert, and his own art becomes more inspired and interesting because of them. Suzie also benefits from her love for Robert and shows some real emotion for him rather than her usual play acting.

This is where I find the movie interesting, as it depicts, much more realistically than one might expect in 1960, the dimensions of a biracial, bicultural couple's life together. Although Robert has made contact with the British elite in the city and needs them for patronage for his art, he's never really comfortable with them or their patronizing, mildly racist way of observing the Chinese. Kay O'Neill (actress Sylvia Syms), the daughter of a well-placed British banker, falls for Robert, but he doesn't really feel any emotion for her as he does for Suzie. Of course, she can't believe Robert would really prefer Suzie to her. When he announces he's thinking of marrying Suzie, Kay's father says that, of course, he could never hire someone in those circumstances. The rest of the Brits more talk around Suzie than to her whenever she's present. Likewise, most of the Chinese, while polite with Robert, don't know quite what to make of him, either, and he seems to do better either with Suzie as intermediary or because her friends help him along. It's obvious too that sometimes cultural miscues cause Suzie and Robert to misunderstand one another. This leads to the beginning of the climax of the film, which is somewhat tragic.

No doubt, this has been a controversial film. In the past, many Asian-American studies professors seemed to grow livid at the mention of it. This was supposed to be the ne plus ultra (or maybe the nadir, instead) for stereotypical portrayals of all Asian women as submissive little China doll characters or bar girls. There is some of that there (although much less than in most other 1950's-early 1960's American films), but, as I'd noted, the interesting thing's how the stereotype turns out to be a fake, something created for the advantage (if that's the word) of the heroine for relating to foreigners. It's also interesting how the genuine romance, one based on a sort of mutual respect between Robert and Suzie, becomes more important. Most interesting of all's the portrayal (that mostly rings true) of a biracial, bicultural romance between two human beings. As someone involved in such a relationship for many years, I found myself giving the film an extra star for this "rightness" alone.

Plus, if nothing else, this movie's a terrific time capsule/travelogue of Hong Kong, as it was never so brilliantly captured elsewhere on screen in that era.

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