Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The Eastern Star

Oh, yes, I know - Thombeau beat me to it this week, but I swear, carissimi, I already had my little featurette in the works, only because I chanced on a late night broadcast of Shanghai Express last week and Miss Anna May Wong has been on my mind. In any case, he brought you Anna May en couleur; I bring her to you as she was meant to be, in shimmering silver and sable.

What is it about her? Beyond the simple fact that she apparently never took a bad picture? That she was, in so many ways, the perfect Moderne creation?

Perhaps simply that she was a working actress whose poise, humor, and spectacular good looks, in a fair world, would have made her a top star instead of a luminous curiosity.

Every Diva needs a great staircase moment; this is hers Her last appearance was on the The Barbara Stanwyck Show, in 1961. Wouldn't you love to know what they talked about in between shots?


  1. Have you seen her decadent silent starring vehicle, "Picadilly"? It should have made a Louise Brooks-esque legend (a la "Pandora's Box") after the fact, but Anna May is still sadly underrated and unknown...

    Her last role, I believe, was as the sinister Asian housekeeper in the Lana Turner/Ross Hunter vehicle, "Portrait in Black" -- despite the mundane role, it's a pretty fabulous film to go out with.

  2. Anna May Wong. Such a definitive Dragon Lady type. She encompasses all the mystery, sexuality, and danger of the East for us blue eyed Westerners (though, actually, I have brown eyes). And "Shanghai Express" is a great movie full of great characters that I'm long overdue to see again. Thanks for the reminder.