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The World of Suzie Wong

219 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Story of the love between a struggling American artist and a beautiful Chinese prostitute in Hong Kong.
Genre: Feature Film-Drama
Rating: NR
Release Date: 29-JUN-2004
Media Type: DVD

A prim young Chinese woman on the Kowloon ferry accuses a middle-aged American of stealing her purse--thus begins a culture-clash romance. Seeking to escape his stifled life, Robert (William Holden, Stalag 17, Sunset Boulevard) has come to Hong Kong to become an artist. He rediscovers the girl from the ferry and learns she is not what she seemed; she's a prostitute named Suzie Wong (Nancy Kwan, Flower Drum Song). Though Robert resists her charms, she becomes his model, and their relationship grows surprisingly complex. While The World of Suzie Wong can be patronizing and has some dubious interpretations of Chinese manners and mores, it's also sophisticated (in a censored sort of way) about love, sex, and social pressure. A viewer may scoff at the child-like hookers, yet find the movie accumulates an unexpected emotional force, particularly through its exploration of how the characters maintain their illusions. --Bret Fetzer

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: William Holden, Nancy Kwan, Sylvia Syms, Michael Wilding, Jacqueline Chan
  • Directors: Richard Quine
  • Writers: John Patrick, Paul Osborn, Richard Mason
  • Producers: Hugh Perceval, Ray Stark
  • Format: Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Dubbed: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Paramount
  • DVD Release Date: June 29, 2004
  • Run Time: 126 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (219 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0001ZWLTM
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #29,405 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The World of Suzie Wong" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

106 of 112 people found the following review helpful By Michael C. Smith VINE VOICE on July 2, 2004
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
'The World Of Suzie Wong' the romanticized story of a Hong Kong prostitute and an American artist is for some, a simplistic racist view of Chinese, for others, a guilty pleasure. Yes, it is both of those things but it is even more. It is a fine and tender love story of two people from very different worlds who overcome pride and prejudice and embark upon a true human experience. Forty four years after its release this film along with 'Flower Drum Song' are being re-evaluated and embraced by the Chinese American community. Why? Because beneath the surface of each film they share the common job of telling the story of their time and place with honesty and true humanity and in the case of Suzie Wong, the story is not such a happy one.
At first we are presented in `Suzie Wong' a stereotypical view of happy little hookers in the Wan Chai district of Hong Kong. But as the story unfolds the veneer of this portrait cracks open to reveal through Suzie just how desperate the lives of these women are. In a city of over three million crammed onto the island city it is a case of do what you must to survive. In Suzie's case she must compartmentalize her feeling into body, love, and soul and thus protect herself by pretending that she is the daughter of a rich merchant rather than a Wan Chai bargirl. Though her relationship with Robert they both learn the meaning and cost of love in a world of narrow view and prejudice.
The film is very adult and honest in dealing with the subject of the flesh trade and racism in 1960 must have been a bit shocking on several levels. This film must be credited with opening the door to telling more honest stories of Asian's with Asian actors in the major roles.
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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 31, 1998
Format: VHS Tape
Nancy Kwan is very beautiful and talented. William Holden shows a side of himself not usually seen, that is, betwixed, off-guard, yet enchanted by Ms. Kwans character. Her character teaches him what Chinese people hold valued although the movie is seen through a Westerner's eyes. The scenery is extremely captivating, as Hong Kong surely would not look this way again, so the moment in time is a treasure in itself. I watched this movie about 10 times over a month period because I loved the romantic story, the boy meets girl, loses girl formula, the snooty characters and of course William Holden for taking on such an unusual story.
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29 of 32 people found the following review helpful By RamonNewton on April 30, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
I have lost count of the number of times I have seen this movie - thanks to video. I have spent much time in Hong Kong and among the Chinese. I have read the book, whose author comes from the same part of England as I. Maybe this helps for me to see the incidents, the characters and the venue much as he did. In the book, Robert, is an Englishman. If, for Hollywood, the actor had to be an American, then Holden would have been my choice. Both he and Kwan are well typecast. When judging Holden, remember, in the original story, he is a reserved Englishman. It is a love story centred on a plot, which always appeals in any era or place. But in 1960's Hong Kong it is well suited. See it, and enjoy the charm of an age and a location about to change forever. Although much of the story is set in a hotel of, somewhat, low repute and the heroine is a prostitute, there is not one 'bad' four letter word, nor an explicit bedroom scene - they just weren't needed to support this wonderfully romantic story. Incidentally, I am the Englishman referred to by the American (Eurasian) reviewer (9th April). As to her wishes - 'who knows, for goodness sake'? (As Suzie might say)
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36 of 45 people found the following review helpful By BrainDrain on April 3, 1999
Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
This is one of many East meets West love stories of the period, and was the second for William Holden in Hong Kong (he'd previously starred in "Love is a Many Splendored Thing" with Jennifer Jones). In this movie, not only is the relationship East meets West, it is also May/December as Holden is much older than Nancy Kwan (her first film, according to Internet Movie Database). As it happens, Holden is a fine enough actor to make the romance fairly believable, though credulity is strained as there is another young woman chasing his affections, played by Sylvia Syms. Holden is less believable in the few action scenes. The basic plot is that William Holden is a restless American who leaves the rat race to become a painter in Hong Kong (or was he already a painter? I forget). He rents a room (complete with a great view terrace), in a Hong Kong brothel, and while searching for models, his attention is naturally drawn by the stunning Nancy Kwan, a local prostitute. Matters are complicated when he hangs around with the local British society, where his work draws the impassioned attention of blonde beauty Sylvia Syms, who happens to have clout in the art world and who instantly decides to champion his work. Of course, she finds the artist far more interesting than his art, and therein hangs a tale. What carries this movie is the radiant beauty of the two leading ladies -- both Nancy Kwan and Sylvia Syms are luminous. The tension between the two women is very convincing as they vie against each other for Holden's love. Indeed, one wishes it could have led to a catfight. Alas, this was not to be, but catfight fans will be pleased to know that Kwan does have a brief brawl with another Chinese prostitute.Read more ›
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