Film Review and Rating / Synopsis

(Please note the films reviewed on this site contain plot summaries and may contain SPOILERS.)
  • Piccadilly (1929) - Plot Summary - Our story starts out at London's Piccadilly Club, where the booze is flowing, the dance floor is full, and everyone comes dressed to the nines. The Piccadilly Club is also where that sensation "Mabel and Vic" appear, billed as "London's greatest dance attraction". Mabel (Gilda Gray) and Vic are sort of Britian's answer to the Astaires, including young Vic dancing like Fred Astaire from his toes all the way to his top hat and tails (but without the talent!). While they dance one night, an incident involving a dirty plate occurs in the audience. The club owner, Valentine Wilmot, is called upon and the blame is passed from restaurant to kitchen to scullery. When Valentine goes into the scullery to confront the guilty dish-washing staff he finds them all engaged in another activity - for there dancing on a table is a young and beautiful Chinese girl named Shosho (Anna May Wong) and everyone has stopped to watch her. She is sacked on the spot. Meanwhile, Mabel, in love with Valentine, gives Vic the cold shoulder when he tries to make the moves on her. Mad at Mabel, Vic turns in his fortnight's notice to the club, and since he's really the star of the dancing duo, soon Mabel is flopping in her solo dance routine. Valentine, so intrigued with the beauty of Shosho, secretly auditions her in his office and next day calls her in and hires her to be his new act - dancing at the club in traditional Chinese costume. Shosho is a hit (especially with the wildly applauding men of the audience), and touted by the newspapers as "The Chinese Dancing Wonder", and soon she has shed her scullery girl rags for fur, sequins, and a French manicure. Trouble comes next though, as seductive young Shosho is soon running around town with Valentine on her arm, and a jealous Mabel in hot pursuit!

    Review - This UK silent is a terrific, very stylish film with a really interesting story - Anna May Wong pretty much steals the show, she's really got a star quality about her! And I really like the way the film is photographed including the use of lots of close-ups and interesting tracking shots. The DVD, from Milestone Films, features a beautiful tinted print with a nice clear picture. The music, a sort of jazzy modernish piece done by Neil Brand, is really excellent and suits the movie well. The DVD includes a few extras like a talkie black and white Prologue to the film, and interview with Neil Brand discussing his score. (Unfortunately, on my rented Netflix disk, the bonus feature with a panel discussion about Anna May Wong would NOT play at all.) Rating - * 10/10 stars *

    Director: Ewald André Dupont
    Film Genre: British Melodrama
    Film Runtime: 109 minutes

Links / Resources

film review Piccadilly starring Anna May Wong


10 = Absolutely Fabulous/Superb
9 = Really Good/Excellent
8 = Good
7 = Fairly Good/Decent
6 = So-so, some flaws
5 = Mediocre
4 = Not that good, many flaws
3 = Poor
2 = Very Poor/Stinker
1 = One of the worst BOMBS ever filmed

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