***We're looking for contributors***


'Mr. Wu' Movie Review: Morbid Lon Chaney, Renée Adorée Classic

Lon Chaney in Mr. Wu by William Nigh"A maiden defiled must be put to death by the hand of her father,” so reads the “ancient Chinese law” that is the basis for Mr. Wu, a stylish tale about miscegenation, fornication, and filicide. In the title role, Lon Chaney, with his usual genius for make-up and characterization, uses at least four of his 1,000 faces to portray two Wu's through three generations.

Old Wu arranges for his grandson to be brought up around Western ways. Years later, that leads to problems when grandson Wu (now “old” Wu himself) discovers his only daughter (Renée Adorée) is preggers by a – gasp! – white man (Ralph Forbes). As a maiden defiled, she must be killed by her father who also has to take revenge against the white man's whole family. He gives the mother (Louise Dresser) a choice of either having her daughter (Gertrude Olmstead) raped or her son killed.

This is really a morbid little story (from a play by Henry Maurice Vernon and Harold Owen), but it is beautifully done. John Arnold's cinematography is stunning, while director William Nigh set up and composed each shot like a painting. It's truly unfortunate that Mr. Wu wasn't filmed in two-strip Technicolor. Color would have given Richard Day and Cedric Gibbons' marvelous art direction even more dazzle.

Even more unfortunate is the horrendous score accompanying the Turner Classic Movies print. The tone-deaf composer thought a loud, screechy clarinet was appropriate for the Oriental theme music.

Yet, thanks to Lon Chaney and to its sumptuous production values, Mr. Wu is a must-see.

© Danny Fortune

>Mr. Wu (1927). Dir.: William Nigh. Scr.: Lorna Moon; from Henry Maurice Vernon and Harold Owen's play. Titles: Lotta Woods. Cast: Lon Chaney, Louise Dresser, Renée Adorée, Ralph Forbes, Gertrude Olmstead, Holmes Herbert, Mrs. Wong Wing, Claude King, Anna May Wong.

If you liked the article 'Mr. Wu' Movie Review: Morbid Lon Chaney, Renée Adorée Classic, please recommend it to your friends and/or follow Alt Film Guide on social media. See share/follow buttons above.
'Mr. Wu' Movie Review: Morbid Lon Chaney, Renée Adorée Classic © 2004–2017 Alt Film Guide and/or author(s).
Text NOT to be reproduced without prior written consent.

Leave a comment about ''Mr. Wu' Movie Review: Morbid Lon Chaney, Renée Adorée Classic'

UPDATED COMMENTING RULES: Our articles and/or other people's comments infuriate you?

Well, here's the good news: It's perfectly okay to disagree with our own and/or other commenters' views and opinions.

But ... *thoughtfulness* and *at least a modicum of sanity* are imperative.

In other words: Add something reasonable & coherent to the discussion.

Spammy, abusive, bigoted, baseless (spreading misinformation), trollish/inflammatory, and/or just plain demented comments will be zapped and offenders may be banned.

Also, bear in mind that links found in comments will generally be deleted.

Most recent comments listed on top.