Mr. Wu


1h 30m 1927
Mr. Wu

Brief Synopsis

In this silent film, a Chinese patriarch goes mad when his daughter falls for an Englishman.

Film Details

Genre
Drama
Silent
Adaptation
Classic Hollywood
Release Date
Mar 26, 1927
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the play Mr. Wu by Henry Maurice Vernon and Harold Owen (New York, 14 Oct 1914).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 30m
Sound
Silent
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.33 : 1
Film Length
7,603ft (8 reels)

Synopsis

In the prolog, Grandfather Wu is seen as a boy, then as a young man whose marriage to a mandarin's daughter yields a child. As Mr. Wu's daughter emerges into womanhood, a marriage is arranged for Nang Ping with a mandarin. Despite the seclusion of her father's palace, she meets and falls in love with Basil Gregory, a young Englishman, and reveals her secret when he asks her to marry him. Wu learns of the situation, and despite his great love for her, he takes her life--according to custom--in atonement, then determines to wreak vengeance on Basil's family. Inviting Mrs. Gregory and her daughter to his home, Wu threatens to have Basil killed and the daughter betrayed; the mother offers her own life, but failing, she stabs Wu, thus freeing her children.

Film Details

Genre
Drama
Silent
Adaptation
Classic Hollywood
Release Date
Mar 26, 1927
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the play Mr. Wu by Henry Maurice Vernon and Harold Owen (New York, 14 Oct 1914).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 30m
Sound
Silent
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.33 : 1
Film Length
7,603ft (8 reels)

Articles

Mr. Wu


Following their success with Tell It to the Marines (1927), MGM wanted Lon Chaney's next film to showcase his versatility as an actor and to demonstrate why he was truly "the Man of a Thousand Faces." Mr. Wu, based on a popular New York stage play, was certainly a challenge. It not only required Chaney to play the dual roles of Mandarin Wu and his grandfather but to appear as these characters at different stages in their life. As Mandarin Wu, Chaney had to play him as a young man and at middle age. For Grandfather Wu, he had to age from his eighties to the ripe old age of one hundred.

Structured like a tragic opera, Mr. Wu is a grand, theatrical melodrama. It tells the story of Mandarin Wu, a wealthy mandarin who is educated in the ways of Western civilization and culture by his wise grandfather. The grandson eventually marries a woman who dies giving birth to their only child, a daughter named Nang Ping. As the years pass, the father develops an incredibly close bond with his daughter which is severely tested by the arrival of a young Englishman, Basil Gregory, who falls in love with her. Since this is a Lon Chaney film, the outcome of this relationship is less than idyllic.

The most striking aspect of Mr. Wu is the makeup, particularly in the case of the one-hundred-year-old grandfather. Cheekbones and lips were build up with cotton and collodion, the ends of cigar holders were inserted into his nostrils, and the long fingernails were constructed from stripes of painted film stock. Chaney used fishskin to fashion an Oriental cast to his eyes and grey crepe hair was used to create the distinctive Fu-Manchu moustache and goatee. And these were only a few of the makeup procedures that took anywhere from four to six hours to apply!

Director: William Nigh
Producer: Harry Rapf
Screenplay: Lorna Moon (based on the play by Maurice Vernon & Harold Owen)
Cinematography: John Arnold
Art Direction: Cedric Gibbons and Richard Day
Cast: Lon Chaney (Mr. Wu/Wu's Grandfather), Renee Adoree (Nang Ping), Louise Dresser (Mrs. Gregory), Holmes Herbert (Mr. Gregory), Ralph Forbes (Basil Gregory).
BW-91m.

by Jeff Stafford
Mr. Wu

Mr. Wu

Following their success with Tell It to the Marines (1927), MGM wanted Lon Chaney's next film to showcase his versatility as an actor and to demonstrate why he was truly "the Man of a Thousand Faces." Mr. Wu, based on a popular New York stage play, was certainly a challenge. It not only required Chaney to play the dual roles of Mandarin Wu and his grandfather but to appear as these characters at different stages in their life. As Mandarin Wu, Chaney had to play him as a young man and at middle age. For Grandfather Wu, he had to age from his eighties to the ripe old age of one hundred. Structured like a tragic opera, Mr. Wu is a grand, theatrical melodrama. It tells the story of Mandarin Wu, a wealthy mandarin who is educated in the ways of Western civilization and culture by his wise grandfather. The grandson eventually marries a woman who dies giving birth to their only child, a daughter named Nang Ping. As the years pass, the father develops an incredibly close bond with his daughter which is severely tested by the arrival of a young Englishman, Basil Gregory, who falls in love with her. Since this is a Lon Chaney film, the outcome of this relationship is less than idyllic. The most striking aspect of Mr. Wu is the makeup, particularly in the case of the one-hundred-year-old grandfather. Cheekbones and lips were build up with cotton and collodion, the ends of cigar holders were inserted into his nostrils, and the long fingernails were constructed from stripes of painted film stock. Chaney used fishskin to fashion an Oriental cast to his eyes and grey crepe hair was used to create the distinctive Fu-Manchu moustache and goatee. And these were only a few of the makeup procedures that took anywhere from four to six hours to apply! Director: William Nigh Producer: Harry Rapf Screenplay: Lorna Moon (based on the play by Maurice Vernon & Harold Owen) Cinematography: John Arnold Art Direction: Cedric Gibbons and Richard Day Cast: Lon Chaney (Mr. Wu/Wu's Grandfather), Renee Adoree (Nang Ping), Louise Dresser (Mrs. Gregory), Holmes Herbert (Mr. Gregory), Ralph Forbes (Basil Gregory). BW-91m. by Jeff Stafford

Quotes

Trivia

The original play opened in New York on 14 October 1914.

Notes

Wu Li Chang, a Spanish-language version of Mr. Wu, was produced in 1930.