A Tale of Two Worlds (1921)

Melodrama | March 1921

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HISTORY

The project was announced under the working title, The Water Lily, in the 11 Sep 1920 issue of Motion Picture News. Gouverneur Morris was said to be at work on the original screen story for Goldwyn Pictures Corp., which marked the author’s first foray into screenwriting, and was currently visiting San Francisco, CA, to get “Chinatown atmosphere for the scenes in his story.” An item in the 11 Sep 1920 Moving Picture World stated that Charles Kenyon would write continuity, with Morris’s “assistance and advice.” Frank Lloyd was named as director in a 2 Oct 1920 Wid’s Daily item.
       According to a 13 Nov 1920 Motion Picture News brief, sets, including a “Chinese street” where a Boxer massacre would be filmed, were under construction at Goldwyn Pictures’ studio facilities in Culver City, CA. During filming, Frank Lloyd capitalized on a real-life fire in Venice, CA, which he shot with cameramen Norbert Brodine and Don Short, and background actors, securing “several thousand feet of fire film” to be used during a “burning temple” scene, as noted in the 22 Jan 1921 Exhibitors Herald. The completion of principal photography was announced in an 8 Jan 1921 Motion Picture News item.
       A title change to A Tale of Two Worlds was reported in the 27 Dec 1920 Wid’s Daily.
       The picture opened at the Capitol Theatre in New York City on the week of 21 Mar 1921, according to a release chart in the 19 Mar 1921 issue of Motion Picture News. In Los Angeles, CA, the film was shown at ... More Less

The project was announced under the working title, The Water Lily, in the 11 Sep 1920 issue of Motion Picture News. Gouverneur Morris was said to be at work on the original screen story for Goldwyn Pictures Corp., which marked the author’s first foray into screenwriting, and was currently visiting San Francisco, CA, to get “Chinatown atmosphere for the scenes in his story.” An item in the 11 Sep 1920 Moving Picture World stated that Charles Kenyon would write continuity, with Morris’s “assistance and advice.” Frank Lloyd was named as director in a 2 Oct 1920 Wid’s Daily item.
       According to a 13 Nov 1920 Motion Picture News brief, sets, including a “Chinese street” where a Boxer massacre would be filmed, were under construction at Goldwyn Pictures’ studio facilities in Culver City, CA. During filming, Frank Lloyd capitalized on a real-life fire in Venice, CA, which he shot with cameramen Norbert Brodine and Don Short, and background actors, securing “several thousand feet of fire film” to be used during a “burning temple” scene, as noted in the 22 Jan 1921 Exhibitors Herald. The completion of principal photography was announced in an 8 Jan 1921 Motion Picture News item.
       A title change to A Tale of Two Worlds was reported in the 27 Dec 1920 Wid’s Daily.
       The picture opened at the Capitol Theatre in New York City on the week of 21 Mar 1921, according to a release chart in the 19 Mar 1921 issue of Motion Picture News. In Los Angeles, CA, the film was shown at the California Theatre, where an “Oriental prelude” was staged on a Chinese set built by Paul Wilkerson, according to a 21 May 1921 Wid’s Daily brief. The prelude included a performance of a Chinese lullaby from the play, East Is West (New York, 25 Dec 1918).
More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Exhibitors Herald
22 Jan 1921.
---
Film Daily
20 Mar 1921.
---
Motion Picture Magazine
Jan 1921.
---
Motion Picture News
11 Sep 1920.
---
Motion Picture News
22 Sep 1920.
---
Motion Picture News
13 Nov 1920.
---
Motion Picture News
1 Jan 1921.
---
Motion Picture News
8 Jan 1921.
---
Motion Picture News
12 Mar 1921.
---
Motion Picture News
19 Mar 1921.
---
Moving Picture World
11 Sep 1920.
---
Moving Picture World
19 Mar 1921.
---
New York Times
14 Mar 21
p. 9.
Variety
22 Apr 21
p. 41.
Wid's Daily
20 Aug 1920.
---
Wid's Daily
2 Oct 1920.
---
Wid's Daily
27 Dec 1920.
---
Wid's Daily
4 Apr 1921.
---
Wid's Daily
7 May 1921.
---
Wid's Daily
21 May 1921.
---
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
The Water Lily
Release Date:
March 1921
Premiere Information:
New York opening: week of 21 March 1921
Production Date:
ended December 1920 or January 1921
Copyright Claimant:
Goldwyn Pictures Corp.
Copyright Date:
17 March 1921
Copyright Number:
LP16286
Physical Properties:
Silent
Black and White
Length(in feet):
5,649
Length(in reels):
6
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Carmichael, an American dealer in antiques who gains possession of the priceless Ming scepter, and his wife are slain by Boxers in China, but their infant daughter is saved by a servant, Ah Wing. Years later, the girl, brought up by Ah Wing as his daughter, is known as Sui Sen in San Francisco, California's Chinatown. Though loved by Ah Wing's assistant, the Worm, she is coveted by Ling Jo, a Boxer leader, who obtains the Ming scepter as a condition for their betrothal. However, Sui Sen falls in love with Newcombe, a wealthy young American. Newcombe rescues her from Ling Jo, who dies in a windlass trap actually prepared for his ... +


Carmichael, an American dealer in antiques who gains possession of the priceless Ming scepter, and his wife are slain by Boxers in China, but their infant daughter is saved by a servant, Ah Wing. Years later, the girl, brought up by Ah Wing as his daughter, is known as Sui Sen in San Francisco, California's Chinatown. Though loved by Ah Wing's assistant, the Worm, she is coveted by Ling Jo, a Boxer leader, who obtains the Ming scepter as a condition for their betrothal. However, Sui Sen falls in love with Newcombe, a wealthy young American. Newcombe rescues her from Ling Jo, who dies in a windlass trap actually prepared for his rival. +

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.