Last Night

Last Night: Think of London

By Josh Feit July 13, 2012

I once made a Top 10 list of my favorite city-themed movies, music, and books. I've been adding to it ever since. For example, I left off The Catcher in the Rye, West Side Story,  Spike Lee's She's Gotta Have It, The Kinks' "Waterloo Sunset," abstract R&B phenom Jai Paul, and, as my literary friend pointed out, Theodore Dreiser's Sister Carrie.

It turns out I also evidently missed Piccadilly, the 1929 silent film set in a glittering London cabaret and starring the drop-dead looker Anna May Wong.

I saw Piccadilly on Monday night at the Paramount Theater's Trader Joe's silent film series—which features a live Wurlitzer organist.

Piccadilly is a slow-paced movie—tinted in dreamy gold at the club, and blue in the ghetto scenes—set in the fast-paced world of ambition, infidelity, and dirty dancing (on and off the floor.)

Anna May Wong's character—a dishwasher at the club who becomes the star dance attraction (wearing Sun Ra style get-ups)—is cocky and cool, as opposed to a lot of heroines I've seen in 1920s silent movies, who just scream and shrink a lot.

Even when her hysterical, jealous nemesis pulls a pistol on her, she seems luxuriously detached.
Gilda Gray: "He's too old for you."

Anna May Wong: "You're too old for him."

The series schedule is here (with both matinees and evening showings.)

Next up, on Monday July 16, L'Argent—"a gripping exposé of the destructive power of money, featuring ruthless stock-market speculators, desperate bids, ruined rivals, and sexual seduction."
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