Limehouse Blues (1934)

63 or 65-66 mins | Romance | 9 November 1934

Director:

Alexander Hall

Cinematographer:

Harry Fischbeck

Editor:

William Shea

Production Designers:

Hans Dreier, Robert Usher

Production Company:

Paramount Productions, Inc.
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HISTORY

The working title of the film was Limehouse Nights . According to a DV news item, Sylvia Sidney was originally cast to play "Toni," but upon her refusal, Heather Angel was tested for the role. M-G-M loaned Jean Parker for this film. DV news items also note that scenes filmed at San Pedro Harbor, CA, were directed by William Shea; and, that when retakes required the presence of Anna May Wong in Oct 1934, the studio recorded her speaking her lines over the telephone from New York. The pressbook for this film gives Grover Jones a screenplay credit. While most contemporary sources credit Hans Dreier and Robert Usher, one source credits Dreier and Roland Anderson with the art direction. The pressbook credits importer and actor Tom Gubbins as providing the Oriental artwork appearing in the film. An early script in the Paramount script files at the AMPAS Library dated 20 Aug 1934 lists James Wing playing the character of "Ching Lee." The film was later released as East End Chant ... More Less

The working title of the film was Limehouse Nights . According to a DV news item, Sylvia Sidney was originally cast to play "Toni," but upon her refusal, Heather Angel was tested for the role. M-G-M loaned Jean Parker for this film. DV news items also note that scenes filmed at San Pedro Harbor, CA, were directed by William Shea; and, that when retakes required the presence of Anna May Wong in Oct 1934, the studio recorded her speaking her lines over the telephone from New York. The pressbook for this film gives Grover Jones a screenplay credit. While most contemporary sources credit Hans Dreier and Robert Usher, one source credits Dreier and Roland Anderson with the art direction. The pressbook credits importer and actor Tom Gubbins as providing the Oriental artwork appearing in the film. An early script in the Paramount script files at the AMPAS Library dated 20 Aug 1934 lists James Wing playing the character of "Ching Lee." The film was later released as East End Chant . More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
15 Aug 34
p. 1
Daily Variety
21 Aug 34
p. 2.
Daily Variety
15 Sep 34
p. 2.
Daily Variety
11 Oct 34
p. 1.
Film Daily
11 Dec 34
p. 6.
Motion Picture Herald
22 Dec 34
p. 35, 38
New York Times
12 Dec 34
p. 28.
Variety
18 Dec 34
p. 13.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
2d unit dir
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
WRITERS
Orig story
Contr to trmt
Contr to trmt
Contr to scr const
PHOTOGRAPHY
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
MAKEUP
STAND INS
Stand-in for Jean Parker
SOURCES
SONGS
"Limehouse Nights," music and lyrics by Sam Coslow.
COMPOSER
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
East End Chant
Limehouse Nights
Release Date:
9 November 1934
Copyright Claimant:
Paramount Productions, Inc.
Copyright Date:
9 November 1934
Copyright Number:
LP5089
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Noiseless Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
63 or 65-66
Length(in feet):
5,916
Length(in reels):
7
Country:
United States
PCA No:
300
SYNOPSIS

On London's Limehouse Causeway, a riverfront slum, Chinese-American Harry Young runs a smuggling business out of his club, The Lily Gardens. In his short time on Limehouse, Harry has overtaken all of ruffian Pug Talbot's business. Pug takes his anger out on his beautiful daughter Toni, whom he has reared as a pickpocket. After Harry saves Toni from arrest, she develops a fondness for him. Pug tries to foil one of Harry's pick-ups by alerting the police, but Toni warns Harry and he evades the law. When Harry finds out later that Pug beat Toni for helping him, he vows revenge. Harry sends Herb, his right-hand man, to make an appointment to meet with Pug. Pug accepts the key to Harry's apartment, unaware that he is being set up. When Pug arrives for his meeting, he is stabbed to death, and his body is left in the alley. After her father's death, Toni agrees to be Harry's "watchdog," in exchange for room and board. Harry's jealous Chinese lover, Tu Tuan, knows that Harry is in love with Toni and warns him that the "white girl" cannot give him what he wants. To protect Toni from Tu Tuan, Harry fires her, but gives her an allowance. In Piccadilly, Toni meets Eric Benton, who owns a pet shop, and after spending many afternoons together, they fall in love. Toni does not want to accept Harry's charity, but he prevents her from getting a job so he will not lose her. Tu Tuan warns Harry that Toni is in love with someone else and, after deriding him for being in love with a white ... +


On London's Limehouse Causeway, a riverfront slum, Chinese-American Harry Young runs a smuggling business out of his club, The Lily Gardens. In his short time on Limehouse, Harry has overtaken all of ruffian Pug Talbot's business. Pug takes his anger out on his beautiful daughter Toni, whom he has reared as a pickpocket. After Harry saves Toni from arrest, she develops a fondness for him. Pug tries to foil one of Harry's pick-ups by alerting the police, but Toni warns Harry and he evades the law. When Harry finds out later that Pug beat Toni for helping him, he vows revenge. Harry sends Herb, his right-hand man, to make an appointment to meet with Pug. Pug accepts the key to Harry's apartment, unaware that he is being set up. When Pug arrives for his meeting, he is stabbed to death, and his body is left in the alley. After her father's death, Toni agrees to be Harry's "watchdog," in exchange for room and board. Harry's jealous Chinese lover, Tu Tuan, knows that Harry is in love with Toni and warns him that the "white girl" cannot give him what he wants. To protect Toni from Tu Tuan, Harry fires her, but gives her an allowance. In Piccadilly, Toni meets Eric Benton, who owns a pet shop, and after spending many afternoons together, they fall in love. Toni does not want to accept Harry's charity, but he prevents her from getting a job so he will not lose her. Tu Tuan warns Harry that Toni is in love with someone else and, after deriding him for being in love with a white woman, leaves him. Toni finally confesses her sordid background to Eric and abandons him, but he finds the Lily Gardens and makes an appointment with Harry, who gives him the infamous key. That night, Harry takes Toni with him on his pick-up at Ching Lee's ship, unaware that Tu Tuan informed on him to the police and then killed herself. Harry realizes Toni's deep love for Eric when she becomes hysterical upon discovering his murder plans. Willing to sacrifice his own happiness for hers, Harry leaves Ching Lee's to try and stop the killing. He is chased by the police and shot, but arrives in time to save Eric. Harry clears Toni's name before he dies, leaving Toni and Eric to return to the West End to find happiness together. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.