Mr. Wu (1927)
In this film, Lon Chaney Sr. essays a dual role, as the titular Wu and Wu's honorable grandfather. Wu is a powerful, ruthless Chinese aristocrat. When his daughter Nang Ping is seduced and abandoned by wealthy Briton Basil Gregory, Wu begins plotting a horrible revenge.
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Critic Reviews for Mr. Wu
Audience Reviews for Mr. Wu
Naturally, all sorts of warning buzzers go off when you hear of a silent-era film with a white man portraying an Asian (even if the actor is the great Lon Chaney). And sure, there are some uncomfortable moments in "Mr. Wu." Lots of stereotypical talk about the "ancient ways" of these stuffy "Chinks," and there's one especially bad scene where a Chinese servant sees his white employer chasing a storm of papers swirling around a desk and is too dumb to understand that a nearby electric fan is the cause. Come on!
Still, "Mr. Wu" is a stylish tale of tragic romance. Wu's beloved daughter Nang Ping (yes, the actress is also white) is about to enter an arranged marriage, but these traditional plans hit a snag when she encounters a posh Western lad by chance. Soon they're secretly nuzzling in the garden, pantomiming those silly, damp-eyed conversations that silent-movie lovers always have.
When Wu hears of their scandalous courtship, he has to decide whether to punish his daughter as severely as his moral code demands.
"Mr. Wu" is well-directed, and the costumes and furnishings of the noble Wu's estate are lovely. As a bonus for Chaney fans, the actor also portrays a withered grandfather during the opening scenes.
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