Archive for October 19, 2008

Quote of the Day: The name’s Wong. James Wong.

Posted in FILM with tags , , on October 19, 2008 by dcairns

The movie is PHANTOM OF CHINATOWN, the detective is Mr. Wong, and the victim is Dr. Benton, the eminent archaeologist.

“My name is James Lee Wong.”

“How do you fit into this?”

“Doctor Benson had just returned from the interior of China. I’m Chinese.”

And for once, since the detective is being played by Keye Luke, he’s right, you know.

“Have there been any more murders involving persons recently returned from China? Because you see, I’m Chinese, so I might be involved.”

Intertitle of the Week

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , on October 19, 2008 by dcairns

From Anthony Asquith’s tour-de-force of late silent cinema, A COTTAGE ON DARTMOOR.

Early Asquith is so exciting, I can’t quite figure out he became so dull. I blamed THE V.I.P.S (a film about people stuck in an airport, doing their income tax) and THE YELLOW ROLLS ROYCE on extreme old age, but Asquith died quite young at 65. Perhaps better to blame the deadening influence of Terence Rattigan, whose well-crafted plays seem to me to be a destructive force on British cinema. Collaborating with Rattigan nearly smothered David Lean’s talents too.

And then there’s the possibility that “Puffin” Asquith was having too good a time offscreen. Wikipedia identifies him as most probably the “man in the mask” cavorting masochistically at the high society orgies of Stephen Ward, and my top informant on the glory days of British film, Lawrie Knight, told me that it was an open secret that Asquith, a prime minister’s son and one of our top filmmakers, would moonlight as a dishwasher in “greasy spoon” transport cafe’s where he would pick up truck drivers as rough trade.

I don’t suppose he could have made a film about that, but something with a bit more proletarian spunk to his later movies would have been nice.