Big silent buses, spilling light out onto an incongruously familiar West End, display the film's credits and introduce us to Dupont's glitteringly sinister London. Descending from the palatial dance-floor of a Piccadilly nightclub, we pass through the kitchen and the scullery to a world of roughhouse pubs and seamy Chinese emporia. Anna May Wong has a wiry strength which belies expectations of lotus-flower passivity. She distracts the dishwashers with her table-top dancing, and snares her all-powerful boss (Thomas) with her serpentine sensuality. The melodramatic machinations of the plot may be weak, but Dupont's assured direction, Alfred Jünge's art direction, and Werner Brandes' lighting create an atmosphere so hauntingly evocative as to be satisfying in itself.
Cast and crew
Anna May Wong Jameson Thomas Gilda Gray Cyril Ritchard King Ho Chang Charles Laughton Ellen Pollock Ray Milland