Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Gilda Gray, Anna May Wong, Jameson Thomas, Charles Laughton, Cyril Ritchard
Director: Ewald André Dupont
Genres: Indie & Art House, Classics, Drama, Mystery & Suspense
Valentine Wilmot, the owner of the popular Piccadilly Club finds his lead male attraction, Victor Smiles (Cyril Ritchard) has quit and that the public has judged Victor?s partner Mabel as over the hill. Though they are lov... more »
Anna May Wong Will Finally Be Remembered
Chei Mi Lane | Saint Louis, MO United States | 03/01/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I just got a look at this DVD. The extras on this are worth the price of admission.
As an coauthor of one of the books on Anna May Wong I awaited this like many other keepers of the flame. With three books on Anna May now out, I still was not satisfied. I couldn't figure out what it was that was lacking. When I started looking into Anna May Wong's career some thirty years ago, you couldn't find a picture of her at most libraries. Then the cult phase started. People started writing more and asking around. Occasionally an article would be written in a nostalgic magazine. Eventually her films were selling in the private markets.
Anna May Wong's film career is not lost anymore. Milestone did her proud in so many ways. There is footage of the 2004 Asian Film Festival's panel (with Nancy Kwan) on her, though the sound quality on that is rough. There is a vintage introductory sound film made as a prologue to the movie, which is quite interesting. Then there are the photos. As I watched them run by I thought of the searches at the libraries so many years ago, wondering what I would have thought back then had I run into a gold mine such as this. I was also reminded of going through a stack of original photos from another one of her films, wishing I had the thousands required to buy them all. At forty dollars apiece(fifteen years ago)I spent a week's pay, knowing that once I left Hollywood to go back home, I would probably not see the rest of those photos again. Indeed, I have not.
However... this DVD is that gold mine for those who have wished to see Anna May in all her glory.
Maybe the people keeping some of her films locked up will see the beauty presented here and allow the public to enjoy her other works. Milestone did this as a labor of love. Anna May is not an extra in a Fairbanks movie anymore. Milestone gave us Anna May Wong, the star.
Chei Mi Lane"
More To PICCADILLY Than Just Anna.
Chip Kaufmann | Asheville, N.C. United States | 03/05/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"A lot of attention has been paid to this film first on screen in special showings and now on DVD thanks to the presence of Anna May Wong. Her performance is indeed a revelation but there's much more to the film than just Anna. PICCADILLY is visually a very stylish film thanks to the trademark fluid camerawork of director E.A.Dupont. The sets of the Piccadilly Club are breathtaking. Although stylishly contemporary for when the film was made, they now serve as a time capsule for us today taking us back to 1929 London.
The use of lighting especially in the scenes with Anna May Wong gives added depth to the proceedings. And while this is definitely her movie there are other fine performances as well. Cyril Ritchard as Gilda Gray's partner in the opening scenes (I thought I was watching Fred Astaire), Charles Laughton (in his first film role) as a dissatisfied club customer, and especially King Ho Chang as Wong's boyfriend Jim who ultimately holds the key to the film's resolution. PICCADILLY plays very much like an exotic version of PANDORA'S BOX (made a year earlier and directed by another German, G.W. Pabst) with Wong as a Chinese Louise Brooks. The story is basically a backstage melodrama done many times before and since but it's the style and the performances that really put it over.
I do have one problem with this DVD and that is the score by Neil Brand. Written for 7 piece jazz band, there is an overall sameness to it throughout the course of the film. Scenes such as Wong's Chinese dance or most of the scenes in Limehouse could have used a different and more dramatic scoring in my opinion. The composer is on the special features segment of the DVD explaining what he did and why which is helpful in understanding his choices. It isn't a bad score, it just didn't work for me.
Overall the film is lovingly restored, the DVD has a number of bonus features, and we have yet another top quality release from Milestone Films. People interested in Anna May Wong (and there seem to be many) should check out her performance as a Madame Butterfly like character in TOLL OF THE SEA, the first ever Technicolor feature made back in 1922 when Anna was only 17. It's part of the TREAURES FROM AMERICAN FILM ARCHIVES series which will be reissued in May."
A Fascinating Silent
JamesNYC | New York, NY USA | 03/03/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"There aren't all that many silent films that hold up well in this day and age, but "Piccadilly" is an exception. An interesting plot, dealing with sex and murder, and the allure of Anna May Wong make this film worth your while.
A nightclub owner, Mr. Wilmot, sees his fortunes decline after, out of jealousy, he fires the male dancing partner of Mabel. Mabel isn't popular enough on her own to sustain the club, and so he offers a Chinese dishwasher named Shosho (played by Wong) a shot at performing.
Shosho's Oriental dance is a big hit with the customers, and she is also a big hit with Mr. Wilmot, replacing Mabel as his love interest. Wilmot's relationship with Shushu stokes jealousy in both Mabel and Shushu's Chinese ex-boyfriend.
Anna May Wong makes the film with her formidable stage presence and radiant beauty. She is very, very sexy in this film. When she is on the screen, you can't take your eyes off of her!
It is very interesting to see how sex was censored in those days. In one scene, where Shushu invites Wilmot up to her room, she very seductively streches out on her couch. Her sexy tease goes on until the two seem to explode in passion. But just as their faces are about to meet in a violent kiss, the scene comes to an abrupt end and we are shown Wilmot leaving her apartment in the morning.
[Unfortunately, the makers of this DVD have a drawing of a topless Anna May Wong on the DVD case. This is false advertising as she does not appear topless. (There is no nudity in the film.)]
Jery Tillotson | New York, NY United States | 07/29/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I was totally amazed with this movie experience. "Piccadilly" was released in l929, just as talkies were coming into vogue, but when you watch this beautifully restored movie, you'll be amazed at what genius/producer E.A. Dupont and his cast and crew did. Cameraman Werner Brandt and set designer, Alfred Junge, stun the viewer with the intricate camera shots and movements. The camera passes over a row of women in the club's dressing room as they put on their make-up...then the camera tracks former Ziegfeld hotcha dancer, Gilda Gray, as she performs her routine. Later, you see Anna May Wong, dancing down in the scullery of the club, and to no one's surprise she is transformed into an Oriental beauty and becomes a smash hit. While all the attention from film buffs and historians is being lavished on Wong, I thought the voluptuous, beautiful and sexy Gilda Gray was just as good. She was famous/notorious for her Shimmy Dance and which made her millions before the Great Depression wiped her out. Here, you watch her in ravishing gowns, dresses, jewels, hairstyles, furs and she comes across bigger than life. A real woman and not one of those flat-chested flappers who were all the vogue at the time. Wong plays the quiet, deep ShoSho with fascinating mastery. In many shots, she looks exactly like Louise Brooks with her page boy hairstyle. The movie itself is enormously expressionistic, surreal and lit magnificently. Each scene is like a painting by a master. One of the extras is the clumsy, akward ten-minute spoken prologue--a nod to the talkies. The movie begins with striking elan as the credits are painted on the sides of double-decker buses in London's Piccadilly Circus. TimeLine has done another masterful job of bringing this long forgotten treasure out into the real world. Another extraordinary movie treasure presented by TimeLine is "The Olive Thomas Collection," another must-see for fans of all persuasions--whether you're a silent buff or not. Bravo to Gilda, Anna and Piccadilly!"