Alphaville Videoteca

Mr. Wu (1927)

EE.UU.. Drama. 87 minutos
Título Original: Mr. Wu
Director: William Nigh
Intérpretes: Lon Chaney, Louise Dresser, Renée Adorée
Formato: DVD  Calidad: DVD
Idioma: Silente   Subtítulos: Inglés [Intertítulos]

Mordaunt Hall's review of Mr. Wu in the New York Times (May 16, 1927):

In the pictorial conception of the play "Mr. Wu," the versatile Lon Chaney is in his element as a cultured but sinister Chinese mandarin, who, despite his Oxford indifference, when it comes to vengeance finds that he must abide by the letter of the Chinese code. This Mr. Wu welcomes everybody with a good-natured smile, but behind it there frequently lurks an ugly intent, which may even mean the death or perhaps the torture of an individual. This suave and modern Oriental, who robes himself with garments spun with gold, enlists no little sympathy, for just as he has arranged a wedding for his fascinating daughter. Nang Ping, to a scion of another ancient Chinese family, he hears that the girl has been seen in the arms of an Englishman named Basil Gregory.

Mr. Gregory, in a Gilbert and Sullivan manner, has taught the almond-eyed maiden how to kiss, and, according to the laws of the yellow man, the bearer of such news, instead of being rewarded for his loyalty, must immediately have his tongue silenced; this Mr. Wu accomplishes with a short, curved dagger. Hence, after you have seen the majestic mandarin listening to the account of the love scene in the lotus garden, you perceive the plebeian gossiper, after a thrust from Mr. Wu's gleaming blade, sink to his death.

Know you that the punishment of this one man is not sufficient in such circumstances. Others must shuffle off this earth, and perhaps if Mr. Wu had had his way many white men would have fallen far below the faded lotus blossoms. But it happens that Mr. Wu himself succumbs, prior to completing his full plan of revenge. And as the white persons in this story emerge unscathed and with beating hearts, the film story may be adjudged as having a more or less happy ending. But what of poor little Nang Ping?

William Nigh, the director of this picture, deserves no little credit for his handling of the subject, but at the same time either he or the scenario writer might have unfurled the story so that the far-reaching powers of Mr. Wu could have been dilated upon. In this picture his vengeance is more limited than it was in the play. It is a narrative that could have been told with infinitely greater depth, and the film loses some of its dignity when Basil Gregory, bound to a tree, is beheld writhing to free himself.

In the subtitles of this photodrama there is a constant exaggeration of Chinese idioms, which casts ridicule upon that which might have been poetic.

Mr. Chaney is excellent in his performance, but his make-up might have been more effective, by less perfect eyebrows and more perfect Oriental eyes. His cunning is cleverly portrayed, and this Mr. Wu is the personification of the man of culture who reverts to his kind. Renée Adorée plays the part of Nang Ping, and although her smile is far from Oriental, her portrayal of trust and of affection is splendidly suited to the part. She is, however, far too pretty to be left in the lurch by the white hero. Louise Dresser, who for the first time la permitted to appear in a rôle that does not detract from her grace and looks, is capital as Mrs. Gregory, Basil's mother. Ralph Forbes, who officiated as one of the brothers in the picturization of "Beau Geste," is easy and natural in the hapless rôle of Gregory.