Frosted yellow willows

Anna May Wong

There’s a website on the Chinese American actress Anna May Wong (1905-1961), with the enticing title Anna May Wong: Frosted Yellow Willows. The title is a translation of her Chinese name, Wong Liu Tsong.

The site accompanies a documentary film of the same name about the actress who starred in a number of notable silents, including The Toll of the Sea (1922, a two-colour Technicolor film), Peter Pan (1924), Douglas Fairbanks’ The Black Pirate (1924), Old San Francisco (1927) and Piccadilly (1929). She generally rose above the ‘exotic’ settings in which she was invariably cast, to give luminous performances which have ensured her a lasting following. Her screen career petered out in shoddy melodramas in the 1930s/40s, but she also had a career on stage, radio and television, as the site makes clear.

The documentary is produced by Elaine Mae Woo and narrated by Nancy Kwan. There’s a trailer on the site plus a rough-cut promo. As befits its elegant and glamorous star, the site is stylishly designed. The documentary has been ten years in the making, but is reportedly close to completion. If you felt like helping it along you could always make a donation.

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