Chinatown Nights (1929)

Genres - Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Melodrama, Crime Drama  |   Run Time - 83 min.  |   Countries - USA  |  
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Despite the creative input of producer David O. Selznick and director William A. Wellman, Chinatown Nights was just so much chop suey. In her first (and last) talking-picture appearance, silent screen queen Florence Vidor plays Joan Fry, a San Francisco socialite who ruins her reputation when she falls in love with Chinatown gang boss Chuck Riley (Wallace Beery). When she fails to convince Chuck to quit the rackets, the couple splits up. Unable to return to her own social class, unlucky Joan ends up as a streetwalker (albeit a very glamorous one!) Realizing that he is responsible for the girl's present sorry state, Chuck promises to reform, and together he and Joan leave Frisco to start life anew. In later years, the long-retired Florence Vidor described Chinatown Nights as "absurd," citing producer Selznick's decision to team her with the rough-hewn Wallace Beery as its biggest absurdity.

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Keywords

socialite, mob-boss, prostitute/prostitution