Raised by his grandfather to adhere to the ancient laws of China, Mandarin Wu is a strict authoritarian. However, he is a doting father to his beautiful daughter Nang Ping. Nang Ping is to be married to a man of her father's choosing, a man she does not even know. But she falls in love with a dashing British visitor to China, Basil Gregory. Basil informs Nang Ping that he must return to Britain with his family, but she surprises him with the revelation that she carries his child. Wu learns of his daughter's dishonor and lets the ancient laws of China lead him relentlessly toward tragedy.Written by
Jim Beaver <email@example.com>
MGM art director Cedric Gibbons, who designed the settings for this movie, is credited with having designed the statue that became the symbol of the Oscars. See more »
[Asking his friend Muir to act as his grandson's tutor]
The West is coming to the East. The Little Wu must be taught to hold his own.
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In 2000, Turner Classic Movies presented the television premiere with a music soundtrack composed, produced, edited and mixed by Maria Newman, who also conducted the Viklarbo Chamber Symphony. Its running time was 91 minutes. See more »
The terrible trial of MR WU begins with his daughter's first love.
Lon Chaney once again gives scope to his prodigious talent, this time portraying a wealthy Mandarin who is compelled to commit the ultimate crime to avenge his family honor. Chaney inhabits the role, making every glance & gesture perfect for his portrayal of the character. Even while performing despicable acts, Chaney makes the viewer experience his private pain in an almost visceral way. Chaney also portrays ancient Grandfather Wu in the film's opening scenes, exhibiting an astonishing make-up transformation that is practically preternatural.
Much of the screen time is given over to Chaney's younger costars. French actress Renée Adorée provides a beautifully poignant portrayal of Wu's lovely, tragic daughter. Englishman Ralph Forbes, one of the most under-appreciated actors of his generation, gives a stalwart performance as her handsome Western lover. The tender romance of their scenes provides the film with its softer, more sentimental moments.
Louise Dresser plays Forbes' patrician mother, a woman somewhat isolated by her social status who is suddenly, violently, brought into confrontation with Wu's implacable vengeance. Holmes Herbert does well with his short role as her bigoted husband. Delicate Anna May Wong portrays Miss Adorée's faithful servant girl.
The silent film is given excellent production values by MGM, with the beautiful sets being especially noteworthy.
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