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cinemaspeak59

PICCADILLY (1929)

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Piccadilly (1929) is a favorite of mine.  The story, about a love triangle, stays fresh, thanks to the production and cast, particularly the two female leads, Gilda Gray and Anna May Wong.  The exteriors are shot in bluish-grey, and the interiors in a pale yellow, creating pulsating images of London night Life.  The musical score adds atmosphere and intimacy to the setting.

 

Gilda Gray, mentioned by F. Scott Fitzgerald in the Great Gatsby, plays Mabel, a dancer at the Piccadilly Club, where she's partnered with Victor.  Victor, in love with Mabel, quits the club when Mabel refuses to accompany him to Broadway, as she's in love with club owner Val. Business dries up when Victor leaves.  Mabel as a solo act is not what the audience wants.  Val lucks into finding Shosho (Anna May Wong), working in the kitchen, and hires her to perform an exotic Asian dance. The patrons love her.  Business is booming again. But Mabel isn't happy at having her star eclipsed, and watching Shosho  and Val grow close. 

 

Shosho becomes consumed by fame, turning her back on trusted friend Jim, and even belittling Mabel about her age.  Piccadilly works best when Gray and Wong are on the screen.  Gray, in particular, was a terrific, sensual dancer, and her frequent temper tantrums never become cloying.  Anna May Wong, also, was quite good as a dancer. There's a sadness in her role as Shosho, as if she knew that, even with success, things weren't going to turn out so good.

 

P.S. Charles Laughton has a small part in Piccadilly.

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I have heard so much about Anna May Wong, but I've unfortunately never watched one of her films before! I have been looking for a good film of hers to see, I might try this one! Any other Anna May Wong recommendations?

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I have heard so much about Anna May Wong, but I've unfortunately never watched one of her films before! I have been looking for a good film of hers to see, I might try this one! Any other Anna May Wong recommendations?

 

A few of her later films are interesting-- she plays an Asian housekeeper in IMPACT (1949) and has a similar part in PORTRAIT IN BLACK (1960), which was her last movie. One of her most well-known roles is in SHANGHAI EXPRESS (1932), where she costars with Marlene Dietrich. I don't know much about her silent film work.

 

Here's her filmography on wiki: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anna_May_Wong_filmography

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I have heard so much about Anna May Wong, but I've unfortunately never watched one of her films before! I have been looking for a good film of hers to see, I might try this one! Any other Anna May Wong recommendations?

Her filmography isn't very long.  TCM shows Piccadilly from time to time.  Wong's gives a subtle performance, and her scenes with Gilda Gray are a lot of fun.  

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I noticed ELLERY QUEEN'S PENTHOUSE MYSTERY is on YouTube. Anna May Wong plays a role in it.

I might watch that one! I couldn't find Piccadilly on Youtube, so I'll wait until it comes on tv, but if I see a few of her other movies and find that I enjoy watching her, I'll buy it. I'll definitely watch to see if TCM will be playing it anytime soon.

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I might watch that one! I couldn't find Piccadilly on Youtube, so I'll wait until it comes on tv, but if I see a few of her other movies and find that I enjoy watching her, I'll buy it. I'll definitely watch to see if TCM will be playing it anytime soon.

 

If you'll notice my post about Ellery Queen was at 3 in the morning. The building where I live had a false fire alarm and after having to stand outside in the cold while the fire department checked things out, I couldn't get back to sleep. So I looked on YouTube, came across the film and watched it. She looks very glamorous but doesn't appear until almost a half hour into it. It's clearly a supporting role.

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If you'll notice my post about Ellery Queen was at 3 in the morning. The building where I live had a false fire alarm and after having to stand outside in the cold while the fire department checked things out, I couldn't get back to sleep. So I looked on YouTube, came across the film and watched it. She looks very glamorous but doesn't appear until almost a half hour into it. It's clearly a supporting role.

Oh my goodness! Well, I'm glad it was a false alarm atleast, but it must've been freezing to stand outside like that when it is so cold! Thanks for the recommendation, I will watch it as soon as I get the chance, sounds interesting!

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Oh my goodness! Well, I'm glad it was a false alarm atleast, but it must've been freezing to stand outside like that when it is so cold! Thanks for the recommendation, I will watch it as soon as I get the chance, sounds interesting!

 

Yes, better a false alarm than a real fire. There are several other Ellery Queen movies on YouTube, in addition to the one with Anna May Wong.

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I recently watched The Toll of The Sea (1922). The color was absolutely beautiful. I enjoyed Anna May Wong's performance very much, I will definitely watch more of her films.

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