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The Peach Girl - A question


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Wow! What a great movie! I am glad I set the DVR to catch this one.

 

One question I have: Were the English titles added after restoration, or did the Chinese export pictures to the USA? By 1931 silent film (excluding Chaplin, of couse) was extinct, which makes it seem unlikely that the titles were from 1931. Just wondering if anyone really knew...

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alix1929,

 

Actually some film makers were still producing Silent films in China and Japan, as well as other places until as late as 1937!

 

Columbia, and FBO, still released a number of Silents in the United States in 1930. John Fords Fox feature MEN WITHOUT WOMAN the same year is still mostly a Silent film, as is Murna's CITY GIRL made for the most in 1928 as OUR DAILY BREAD, but finished without Murna, and not released until two years later. Some of your smaller theaters in rual ares were not wired for sound until late 1930 or even '31!

 

I have THE PEACH GIRL on DVD. I have had it for several months, but have not watched it yet. I caught some of the broadcast last night. I will have to take a look at this one soon so I can comment more.

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I was not going to watch this film but I did and I like it.

 

In fact, it remind me of a more elaborate Argentine film called HASTA DESPUES DE MUERTA which was filmed 15 years before.

 

The first sound films produced in my country are from 1930, although they were produced during the previous year. (There were also De Forrest Phonofilm productions in 1928, and a feature length documentary production as well.)

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I haven't watched all of THE PEACH GIRL yet, but I would guess judging by the font used for the title cards I would say that they are original. Given that there were many english spaeking people in China during this period (not to mention the Hong Kong colony), I would say that the film's producers wanted to get the widest audience and spend the least amount to do it.

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"PEACH GIRL(..THAT WEEPS TEARS OF BLOOD)" was considered a prestige film and would indeed be used for export. The split titles indicate the importance of it's being sent abroad, but significantly the use of American English will imply "Chinatown" destinations in U.S. cities. Chinese studios had very few outlets at home, depending heavily on export for survival, and Hollywood's lack of interest in what was deemed far too insignificant a niche market, meant success for the exporters.

Ethnic cinemas were seen a lot in the nation made up of immigrants, with foriegn-produced films finding screens in Italian, German, French and Spanish-speaking communities.

 

The film is really reminicent of some early Griffith-like subject. But I guess the story of interclass love and intolerance is one that is done in every country one way or another. I found the actors on the stiff side, and the boy,Yan Jin, an ulikable, gutless mamma's boy and is not the sort of character that would be the hero in a serious western film. A real burden on storytelling is the puritanical restrictions Chinese films suffered. They weren't allowed to kiss, and he hardly touches her, yet they miraculously have a child. Makes the Hollywood production code seem licentious by comparison.

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I agree with Factotum that it reminded me a lot of Griffith/Lillian Gish films with basically the same theme. The plot didn't feel fresh and I'd wished we'd seen a little more of China of 1931 instead of just a little outdoor scene in a garden here & there.

 

It was an okay movie. But I have a question. Was Mamma (the landowner) an opium addict? When we first see her, when the lovers were children, she seemed normal. But when we see her after the children have grown up, she's all shaky and smoking some kind of pipe all the time. That the only conclusion I could derive.

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Thank you all for the information on the title cards! I had not considered the English population in China at the time would necessitate English on the title cards. It makes perfect sense. I had also wondered about exportation--especially to the US, which back then did show race films in communities where there were audiences of color.

 

The remarks about it reminding one of a DW Griffith & Lillian Gish film was true. I felt the same way as I was watching it. The director seemed to take much time & energy to photograph the beautiful girl, in the style of Griffith.

 

Overall, an excellent film!

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Ooops! I forgot to add that I also was curious about Mama's shaking condition. Anyone with more knowledge than me have any thoughts on that. Was she smoking opium or did she develop tremors?

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