7.2/10
1,248
40 user 23 critic

Piccadilly (1929)

Passed | | Drama, Crime | 1 June 1929 (USA)
A young Chinese woman, working in the kitchen at a London dance club, is given the chance to become the club's main act which soon leads to a plot of betrayal, forbidden love and murder.

Writer:

Arnold Bennett (original screenplay)
1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Gilda Gray ... Mabel Greenfield
Anna May Wong ... Shosho
Jameson Thomas ... Valentine Wilmot
Cyril Ritchard ... Victor Smiles (as Cyrill Ritchard)
King Hou Chang ... Jim (as King Ho Chang)
Hannah Jones ... Bessie
Gordon Begg Gordon Begg ... Coroner
Harry Terry Harry Terry ... Publican
Debroy Somers and His Band Debroy Somers and His Band ... Band at the Piccadilly Club
Edit

Storyline

The star attraction of the Piccadilly Club is the dancing team of Mabel and Vic. Victor is infatuated with Mabel, but she rejects his advances, since she is in love with Valentine Wilmot, the club's owner. One night, as Mabel and Vic perform their act, there is a disruption caused by a customer who is unhappy about a dirty plate. When Wilmot goes back to the kitchen to investigate, he finds several employees in the scullery watching Shosho, one of the dishwashers, dancing on a table. That night, Wilmot fires both Shosho and Victor. But the club's sagging fortunes soon lead him to re-evaluate Shosho's talent. Written by Snow Leopard

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Crime

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

1 June 1929 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Nachtwelt See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (restored)

Sound Mix:

Mono | Silent

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The £80 Wilmot pays for Shosho's dress would equate to about $390 at the time or around $5,650 in 2018. See more »

Goofs

During the inquest, the handgun is repeatedly referred to as a revolver. It is obviously a small semiautomatic, and not a revolver. See more »

Quotes

Jim: Shosho - she wanted Mr. Wilmot to give up the white woman. They had a big quarrel about it. I told her Mr. Wilmot would soon tire of a Chinese girl.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The opening credits appear on the sides of London buses. See more »

Connections

Featured in Silent Britain (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

When Love Comes Stealing
(1928) (uncredited)
Written by Erno Rapee, Lew Pollack and Walter Hirsch
The sheet music is shown onscreen; possibly used in the score
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Seductive Anna May Wong in stylish nightclub melodrama
16 August 2000 | by rfkeserSee all my reviews

Tracking through a bustling nightclub kitchen, back into the scullery, amidst steaming washtubs, the camera finds a woman in torn stockings dancing a slow shimmy on a tabletop: a slow upward pan reveals the alluring Anna May Wong in a Pabstian moment of erotic revelation. In the course of this drama, director E.A. DuPont devises several more such clock-stopping moments as the star poses behind an etched glass screen or stretches her body in a geometrically beaded gown.

When Wong makes her debut before the nightclub audience-- sporting an ersatz Thai get-up and fluttering her fingers this way and that---it is clear that she really can't dance at all, ironically making DuPont's contribution seem even more impressive . When this performance causes an unlikely sensation, rival dancer Gilda Gray gets so jealous that she faints in a heap of feathers. [Famed as the actual creator of the shimmy, Gray demonstrates it here with lots of vigorous jiggling.]

Paralleling her rise to dance stardom, Wong's wardrobe gets increasingly elegant, while the conflicts mount: quarreling over nightclub impresario Jameson Thomas [a nicely subtle performance], Gray argues "He's too old for you!" and Wong ripostes "You're too old for him." Both have a point. Eventually, with the help of some Limehouse ruffians, a gun, and a dagger, it all ends in a courtoom.

Apart from a brief appearance by Charles Laughton as a fastidious diner, DuPont pays no attention to the café society patrons of the Piccadilly Club. His interest lies with the performers---including skinny Cyril Ritchard as a hoofer---and in his own adventurous style: the camera seldom stops moving, once even circling 360 degrees, yet the end impression is not of indulgent artiness. DuPont points the camera down through the whirring blades of overhead fans, or into distorted mirrors---virtuoso effects but somehow serving vitality, a sense of events happening in the moment.

The distributor, World Wide Pictures, uses the end titles to trumpet its memorable motto: "Photoplays made where the story's laid".


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