Zaza is an actress and the favorite at an open-air theater in a small French town. When diplomat Bernard Dufresne comes to the village, he stays away for fear he will fall for her. But when Zaza is badly injured, he has no choice.
The Vasquez family are one of the oldest families in San Francisco, but their day of glory is past and now all that remains of them are an old man and his granddaughter, the innocent Dolores. The villainous Chris Buckwell wants to steal their land and ranch from them, even using unfair means to get his hands on it. One of his employees' has a nephew who falls for Dolores, however, and together they make plans to save the ranch. Unfortunately for them, Buckwell has a secret and discovering it might prove dangerous.Written by
The original credits include a music score, conductor and orchestra, despite the film being a silent film. The Vitaphone Symphony Orchestra played at the first-run performance in New York, and the credit was also in printed programs distributed to the audience. See more »
Fifth Vitaphone production from Warner is silent all the way through with the exception of some sound effects used in small places. The film tells the story of a Spanish family who moved to what would become San Francisco to set up their ranch but in 1906 an evil Chinese landowner (Warner Oland) tries to steal it away. The Spanish daughter (Dolores Costello) must try and save her land even though the odds are against here and all the fighting leads up to the famous earthquake. This is a decent movie at best, which works on some levels but is rather disappointing in others. This type of revenge story isn't anything new and had been going on as early as the Griffith shorts at Biograph. Storywise nothing new is really done here but a few nice things happen with the new setting of Chinatown. Today the racial stereotypes of the Chinese folks would be considered racist but what we see here was accepted in 1927. Costello is pretty good in the lead role as she brings some energy to her character that helps the film. Oland is also very good as the Chinese man who pretends to be white in order to try and steal the land. Charles Emmett Mack and Anna May Wong have supporting roles and are pretty good as well. I'm not 100% certain but the final earthquake sequence appears to have scenes borrowed from the Lon Chaney film The Shock, which was also set in San Francisco and featured the legendary earthquake. With that in mind, the final earthquake sequence really isn't that impressive but there are some newly filmed scenes mixed in of building burning and these effects look pretty good. The Vitaphone sound effects are all rather small and include a few gunshots early on, bells ringing and a few screams during the earthquake.
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