The World of Suzie Wong - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The World of Suzie Wong Reviews

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½ November 1, 2017
I haven't seen every movie, so I can't confirm that this is the most racist and sexist film ever made, only the most sexist and racist film I've ever seen.
It tells the tale of a middle-aged white American who, unfulfilled in his normal life, moves to Hong Kong to become an artist. He strikes up a romance with a willful and child-like Chinese prostitute who is half his age. They fall madly in love, despite him doing things like -I shit you not- ripping her clothes off and throwing over a balcony. He's moody and controlling and has a face like a catcher's mitt, but that's okay, because she is a sexy Asian woman-child who acts like a thirteen year old and just needs a man to take care of her.
Anything that you could imagine being a problematic representation of sex workers, white people in East Asia, intergenerational relationships, the infantilization of Asians, women, and especially Asian women, this movie has it all.
½ January 20, 2015
Drama convencional casi parecido a una telenovela que tuvo mucho exito el a√'o de su estreno, Nancy Kwan es una diosa oriental.
April 5, 2012
An American falls in love with a Chinese woman who is also a prostitute. Nice scenery of Hong Kong.
½ November 24, 2011
came out when ten years old, never forgot it following t.v. showing when 14. 41 years old purchased it, never to regret it! Robin Hanzelka
October 30, 2011
Drama convencional casi parecido a una telenovela que tuvo mucho exito el a√'o de su estreno, Nancy Kwan es una diosa oriental.
½ June 16, 2011
Suzie Wong was a Manipulative,Gold Digging, but Exciting Prostitute(Nancy Kwan), that William Holden gets deeper involved with than he intended too.Turns out she is much more, & even less, than she seems.A Very Reluctant & Moving Love Story
August 16, 2010
In certain ways even better than the similarly-themed "Love Is A Many Splendored Thing" (also starring Holden), which five-years-earlier delivered 20thCentury Fox a box-office smash that Paramount is here trying to replicate via a 'looking-glass' strategy.

As opposed to Splendored's well-educated, well-bred, reserved Chinese medical doctor as Holden's love interest, Suzie Wong's a entirely different type of 'professional' - clever, proud, good-natured, trying to save face while bootstrapping herself out of poverty one client at a time.

And while Fox played it straight-down-the-line installing a proven 30ish Caucasian female actress as lead (barely made Chinese on-screen), Paramount had the courage/insight to field a then-unknown 20-year-old Asian (Nancy Kwan) who delivered an endearing and career-best performance right out-of-the-gate.

And here Holden's a starving artist, not a successful journalist.

Spendored leans heavy on outstandingly lush mid-Century Hong Kong cinematography to engage viewers, while going lighter on character development. In this film, on the other hand, Holden and Kwan deliver much deeper. Viewers quickly develop strong empathy/interest in both characters; the sets shine mostly because these two stand within them.

Though there's good gandering at Hong Kong via establishing/external shots, Wong's moreso built around set pieces from MGM's London lot.

Further, Wong's a more light-hearted dramatic romance - both Holden and the audience enjoy being the disengaged viewers of the shenanigans inside the brothel where Holden's rooming - whereas Splendored's drama is far more undiluted and heavy-handed.

Widescreen; Technicolor. From a 1957 novel by British writer Richard Mason, inspired by his own residency within the once-infamous Wan Chai district of Hong Kong.

RECOMMENDATION: Suzie Wong's the absolutely perfect double-bill/bookend to Splendored; though the two films differ in certain respects, viewers enjoying one will undoubtedly enjoy the other. See 'em both.
May 9, 2010
Hmmm... how to speak about this movie? Urm... creative???
April 12, 2010
A decent romantic movie.
March 11, 2010
I'm a rabid Nancy Kwan fan, so I admit to bias in this review -- I like this movie because she is in it -- because she is young, and because she is beautiful. I think this movie started my first fantasies about beautiful Eurasian women.

While the story is about Asian prostitutes, Suzie (Nancy Kwan) is more than a common whore -- less than a high-priced call girl, and more like a classy rent-a-wife. She is beautiful, she knows it, and she can be choosy. She tends to stay with one client as an kept woman until it ends, or fate intervenes. Her paramours are well heeled and sometimes influential, and offer her comfort and means. But they don't offer her the human intimacy, legitimacy and marriage she knows her fallen status deny her -- that she can never achieve except in her private dreams.

As an older, starving artist with limited means, Robert Lomax (Wm Holden) would ordinarily have little chance with her. Yet by employing her as a model for his paintings, Suzie comes to respect him as a tender and caring human being who cares about her as a person, and not just as a sex object.

That Lomax falls in love with Suzie is no mystery. Young, beautiful Asian girls are a continuing source of fantasy for men. And the older the man is, very often the stronger is the fantasy. But Asian women more often choose a man for the material comfort he can provide her. So Suzie's choosing of Lomax, despite his obvious limitations on wealth, makes it a love story. She gives him the only gift she has to bestow -- herself, without a price tag on it. It is for Suzie, a very special gift.

Lomax's white, upper class circle of friends in Hong Kong don't necessarily frown on Asian mistresses -- as long as they are kept discreet. But they don't readily accept them into their circle of public acquaintances either. While Lomax is becoming infatuated with Suzie, he does not like her lifestyle, and this understandably causes him to doubt her as a viable life partner. But then losing her to a rival reveals to him that he has fallen inextricably in love with her.

Lomax pursues Suzie, and wins her back. The movie ends with them back together, but the novel continues on with the Lomax's struggles with Suzie's past, and his lingering doubt about Suzie's loyalty and commitment to him.

If I have one criticism about the storyline, it is that Suzie's child by a former paramour is killed off by a convenient typhoon. My experience in real life is that children of such relationships are all too often abandoned. By killing off the child, the often difficult social complication of such children is avoided.

I have through my years come to know many such couples as Robert Lomax and Suzie Wong. And I have even had my own version. Many times it works out, but more often it does not. I especially like this movie, not because it is realistic, which it is not, but because it is a story of hope and realization of that hope, which I suppose caters to my own fantasies, and lends some optimism to them
December 26, 2009
film about an american architect come to HK to paint a virgin prostitute.......wonderful scenes of Hong Kong.
Have to support Nancy Kwan because her father is.......
September 25, 2009
This was a film that I saw in a screening period for an Asian-American cinema class and, while it was dissected to no end in the class in terms of "white knight 'rescues' girl from her heritage" and other racially-negative analysis, I very much enjoyed THE WORLD OF SUZIE WONG. It is not hard to tell that the intent of the film couldn't have been any further from the cynical readings of today that serve only to display that we have a better understanding of how to handle racial diversity today than we did almost 50 years ago. Compared to a similar film of the era, BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY'S, SUZIE WONG gives character depth to the Asian population in a time where many popular films carved these characters out of cardboard and yellow-faced white actors. In this regard, and even on its own merits today, I think the general message of the film is remarkably sensitive in terms of race by portraying the majority of Westerners as superficial bigots and making literally all Asian characters immensely sympathetic, even where their profession in prostitution may commonly suggest otherwise. With extra-textual content aside, the film is solid in its own right, as it defies traditional romance and doesn't always settle for easy decisions for the characters. While the gender portrayals are ultimately more groan-inducing than the racial ones, I still found little to fault in this movie, which did nothing to overly excite me but impressed me nonetheless.
½ April 30, 2009
heartbreaking expose of British racism in colonial Hong Kong, where it was all right, ol' boy, to bed Suzie but not to wed any Chinese girl...only the artistic freedom of an aspiring painter sees Suzie as more than yellow flesh...a lovely virgin : 'girl who never make love' for she never had until then
March 17, 2009
I suppose I really need to take this film in consideration of the time it was made in...There is are a few scenes sprinkled in that openly confront Asian stereotypes of the period...They're really hidden, but they're there. Unfortunately, the rest of the film falls into those aforementioned stereotypes. Suzie Wong is the fulfillment of every horny white boy's image of the subservient, sexually starved, materialistic, exotic Oriental princess that lesser minds believe all Chinese girls to be--who are all, of course, longing to be saved by their White Knight. Oh yeah, and who think it's an honor to have their men beat them. I guess I do appreciate that there were Asians represented in a commercially successful film in that period, but what I can't appreciate is how little our image has progressed since then...
½ March 3, 2009
I stumbled upon this classic film on video one day while visiting my local library ... William Holden gives another classic performance as Robert Lomax and Nancy Kwan is superb as the title character. I am shocked than Nancy did not earn an Oscar for her role as the Hong Kong prostitute on the mend. Look this one up if you love classic films!
February 9, 2009
i enjoyed this for a few reasons and it bothered me for a few reasons(stereotypes, racism). i liked it as a sort of window of 1960 hong kong and seeing how much it's changed since then. i decided to watch it because it was mentioned in a film book i'm reading. it's a hooker-with-a-heart-of-gold story. not the best movie you'll ever see but i thought it was enjoyable.
January 12, 2009
Very decent romance full of good intentions but also very clumsy and stereotypical when dealing with prostitution or cultural differences.
½ September 6, 2008
William Holden - YOWZA
August 30, 2008
a well-filmed, well-acted, well-made movie.
July 17, 2008
This is 1960 classic romantic film with W. Holden (Gere without the Lotus) and Nancy Kwan (Roberts). Precious scenes of old Hong Kong. Interesting look into inter-racial romance during the time of British Colonisation of the island.
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