Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Tuesday, May 9, 2017


It's the second week in May, so what can be more fitting than to feature a film that has two "Mays"?

The Lady from Chungking is a World War II propaganda programmer, the third film produced by Alexander-Stern Productions, a short-lived (1942-1945) B-movie company.  The movie is lifted from its low-budget status by a great performance from its star, the first of our "Mays" -- Anna May Wong.  Wong plays  Kwan Mei, the leader of the resistance in a rural china village during the Japanese occupation.  When American airmen are shot down near her village, Kwan Mei plans to rescue them, but when a Japanese general (character actor Harold Huber, second billed in this film) enters the town, Kwan Mei realized that something big is about to go down.  She has to use her impressive skills to get close to the general to find out what.  

Third billing in this flick goes to our second of our "Mays" -- Mae Clarke, perhaps best known for her grapefruit scene with James Cagney in The Public Enemy.  Clarke plays Lavara, a cynical Russian cafe singer -- sadly, a role that does not make much use of her considerable talents.  Rick Vailin and Paul Bryar play the downed American pilots and Ludwig Donath is the German cafe owner Hans Gruber (definitely not the Alan Richman Hans Gruber from Die Hard!). 

The Lady from Chungking was directed by active B-movie director William Nigh with a script by Sam Robins (The Lone Rider and the Bandit, Bowery Blitzkreig) from a story by Milton Raison (Bombs Over Burma, Girl from Rio).


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