War of the Tongs (1917)

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This is one of the more curious pictures of the 1910s -- the whole cast was Chinese, and so was the writer/director. Unfortunately, no one at Universal saw fit to give anyone credit other than the Caucasian "general director" H.O. Davis. In an apparent attempt at making the picture bilingual, the title cards are in both Chinese and English. There's nothing new or different about the story, however -- Wong Wing is in love with Suey Lee, the daughter of his boss. A rich Tong leader, Ching Ting, wants Suey Lee, too, but the father like Wing better and tells him that he'll give him several days in which to raise a few thousand dollars, thus proving he can support the girl in the style to which she is accustomed. Wing tries to come up with the cash by gambling in Ting's den, but is cheated out of everything. Then Ting sends his men to kill Wing, but after a lot of bloody battles, he has a change of heart and decides that Wing can have Suey after all. The stylized form of acting utilized here went right over the heads of the American critics (and presumably the American public) and this picture got some of the worst notices of any film of its era.