Elissa Landi and Charley Chase host a Chinese-themed tea party near the Southern California seashore complete with musical entertainment, a fashion show, and attended by Hollywood celebrities.

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(dialogue) (as John Krafft)
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Airs Mon. Jan. 30, 6:00 AM on TCM

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Herself - the Hostess
Joe Morrison ...
Himself - Singer
...
The Drunk
Al Lyons Band ...
Themselves
Al Lyons ...
Himself - Bandleader (as Al Lyons Band)
The Jones Boys ...
Themselves (as Jones Boys)
Ahern Sisters ...
Themselves
Marcus Show Girls ...
Themselves
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Storyline

Elissa Landi and Charley Chase (playing Asian Charley Chan Chase) host an East Asian themed garden tea party in Hollywood. After introducing a few Hollywood luminaries who are attending the party, they present a number of musical and/or dance performances to entertain the crowd. This set of performances also includes ethnic Chinese actress Anna May Wong modeling some fashions she brought back from her first ever trip to China. Through it all, one of the guests, already inebriated, is having a few problems mixing and serving the cocktails he wants. Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Short | Musical

Certificate:

Approved
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Details

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Language:

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Release Date:

3 April 1937 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film was unseen for nearly 60 years until the Vitaphone Disk of the sound track was found in 2000 See more »

Crazy Credits

11 cast members, beginning with Charley Chase, are credited orally either by hostess Elissa Landi or co-host Charley Chase. See more »

Soundtracks

Chinatown, My Chinatown
(uncredited)
Music by Jean Schwartz
Performed by The Jones Boys
Danced to by the Ahern Sisters
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Beautiful to look at, embarrassing to watch
14 July 2006 | by (California) – See all my reviews

This short serves as both a fashion show and as a demonstration of the beauty of Technicolor. It's interesting as the former and terrific as the latter. As others have pointed out, the color is superb--clear, crisp and deep as only three-strip Technicolor can be, and while I've never been much of a connoisseur of '30s fashions, I actually liked some of the stuff I saw here. There's one segment with a bevy of showgirls passing in a sort of "Miss America" review dressed in some Las Vegas-type costumes that rank among the skimpiest I've ever seen in a non-stag movie of that period--not that I'm complaining--that serves to show off both the costumes' spectacular colors and the girls' spectacular bodies (which it does to a very satisfying degree; I don't know how MGM got away with showing so many almost-nude women back then). There's a rather boring hula by a woman who fortunately looks good but unfortunately can't dance very well, a forced and unfunny "novelty" Spike Jones-type number by the Al Lyons Band, a rather pedestrian tap dancing act, a few other musical interludes--none of them even remotely memorable--and some VERY brief cameos by such MGM stars as Clark Gable and Joan Bennett. The film's main drawback, however, is the premise--a group of white actors dressing up and acting like "Chinamen" (comedian Charley Chase is particularly embarrassing doing an awful Fu Manchu/Charlie Chan impersonation), including everyone from the band to the waiters. Leon Errol does his patented drunk routine but it doesn't seem to really have anything to do with the movie--it just involves him and a waiter for a minute or two and then they're gone--and a quartet of black singers does a clever "hum" of "Chinatown My Chinatown". Even for the "unenlightened" 1930s, this short really pours on the stereotypes about Asians, especially Chinese. It gets embarrassing every so often--well, okay, it gets embarrassing A LOT--but even so, it's extremely interesting as an historical document. I gave it four stars: two for the beautiful color (and zero for the lame musical numbers, the witless "comedy" and the offensive and insulting racial stereotyping) and two for the all-too-brief appearance of the luminous Anna May Wong, who looks sexier than I've ever seen her (and in color, yet!) modeling a beautiful blue (apparently silk) gown and then an even more beautiful yellow one. She just radiates charm, grace and class, three things this short is completely devoid of. It could have used much more of her and much less of everybody else.


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