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Piccadilly (1929)

Gilda Gray , Anna May Wong , Ewald André Dupont  |  NR |  DVD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)

Price: $32.36 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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Product Details

  • Actors: Gilda Gray, Anna May Wong, Jameson Thomas, Charles Laughton, Cyril Ritchard
  • Directors: Ewald André Dupont
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Silent, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Image Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: March 1, 2005
  • Run Time: 92 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000777HUW
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #240,501 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Piccadilly" on IMDb

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

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 lovers, Valentine must find another dancer to replace Mabel or face an uncertain future. When a customer (Charles Laughton in his first feature film) complains of a dirty dish, Valentine discovers the answer to all his problems down in the club’s scullery…

After many years of supporting roles in Hollywood, Anna May Wong left for Europe in search of better roles. And did she find one! Her electric, sexually-charged performance in Piccadilly is a revelation. Wong is mesmerizing as Shosho, the Chinese scullery maid who overnight becomes the toast of London — and the object of sexual desire of all around her. The camera adores Wong, and against Alfred Junge’s astonishing set design, her beauty glows in every frame. Piccadilly was the brilliant apex to Dupont’s trilogy of backstage life (Varieté and Moulin Rouge), showcasing the director’s signature mix of great acting, amazing imagery and astonishing camera movements.

Review

"She takes your breath away. Anna May Wong is the kind of gorgeous that burns right through a camera lens!" -- Janice Paige, Boston Globe

"Wong … projects a modern, coolly appraising sexuality. Visually eloquent and often dazzling, the movie is no less terrific." -- J. Hoberman, Village Voice

"Wong, with her lithe figure and piercing eyes, is phenomenal!" -- Michael Sragow, The New Yorker

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
32 of 32 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More To PICCADILLY Than Just Anna. March 5, 2005
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
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.
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32 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Anna May Wong Will Finally Be Remembered February 28, 2005
Format:DVD
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.

Three books.

Now this.....

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
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Fascinating Silent March 2, 2006
Format:DVD
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.)]
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars One of Anna May Wong's Better Movies
Better than "Lady from Chungking", or "Bombs over Burma". Anna May does more than just stand around and recite a few lines. In this film, she dances! Read more
Published 8 months ago by Kyzyl
4.0 out of 5 stars BUYER BEWARE OF THE COLORIZED? VERSION
It seems nearly everyone complains about the soundtrack. As a soundtrack collector, I didn`t find it nearly as offensive as today`s loud ROCK soundtracks very few of which I... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Jay Holder
5.0 out of 5 stars She's a Doll
It’s a shame that, primarily due to her race, Anna May Wong never really achieved any lasting, worldwide fame. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Paul McGrath
4.0 out of 5 stars Great movie
As a fan early films, I have to commend the restoration of this great movie. My only concern was about the music score. What film were they watching?? The score is an abomination. Read more
Published 15 months ago by kendo
1.0 out of 5 stars Tedious Viewing
I bought this movie and was barely able to watch it once, due to the monotinous, tedious and headache inducing musical score. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Mark E. Herriott
5.0 out of 5 stars Anna May Wong! Interesting Storyline! Great film!
I love Anna May Wong movies. I wish the selection was more extensive. Piccadilly not only features Miss Wong, but has an interesting, very dramatic storyline. Read more
Published 19 months ago by T. Peyton
5.0 out of 5 stars ANNA MAY WONG DAZZLES IN PICCADILLY
As a classic film lover, I've certainly known about Anna May Wong for a long time, having seen her in films like THE THIEF OF BAGDAD (1924) and SHANGHAI EXPRESS (1932), but the one... Read more
Published on February 9, 2012 by Casey62
2.0 out of 5 stars Horrible music score
I was terribly disappointed in the music score of this fantastic film.
During my viewing of the first five minutes of this restoration of Piccadilly I couldn't help but feel... Read more
Published on November 21, 2011 by MEK
5.0 out of 5 stars PICCADILLY!!!!!
Excellent DVD presentation of a film I really feel I would have preferred as a sound feature, but still loved as a silent. I would have liked it better with a less modern score. Read more
Published on August 6, 2011 by larryj1
4.0 out of 5 stars Anna May Wong: A Lost Star
Anna May Wong (1905-1961) made several notable films in Hollywood--including the first Technicolor feature, THE TOLL OF THE SEA--but she was an Asian actress in an era when her... Read more
Published on June 6, 2011 by Gary F. Taylor
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