Audio CD Release
1960 The World of Suzie Wong - MOVIE TIDBITS
The World of Suzie Wong (film):
[Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_World_of_Suzie_Wong_(film)]
The World of Suzie Wong is a 1957 novel written by Richard Mason, which has been adapted into a play, a hit film, and a ballet.
The World of Suzie Wong is a 1960 American romantic drama film directed by Richard Quine. The screenplay by Paul Osborn was adapted from the stage play by John Patrick, which was based on the novel of the same title by Richard Mason.
The film was released on Region 1 DVD on June 29, 2004. It is in anamorphic widescreen format with an audio track and subtitles in English.
The World of Suzie Wong's Plot:
American architect Robert Lomax is an aspiring artist who relocates to Hong Kong for a year to see if he can make a living as a painter. On the Star Ferry en route to Hong Kong Island, he meets Mee Ling, a seemingly proper young woman of lofty social status. She mischievously tries to have him arrested for stealing her purse, but the misunderstanding is resolved and they go their separate ways.
With limited financial resources at his disposal, Robert looks for inexpensive rooming in the infamous Wan Chai district. By chance, he sees Mee Ling leaving a run-down hotel in the district, and he astounds proprietor Ah Tong by renting a room for a month rather than the usual hour or two. Robert quickly discovers the true nature of the establishment. In the bar next door, he is bemused to find Mee Ling again, this time dressed in a slinky red dress and in the company of a sailor. This time, she calls herself Suzie Wong, and she unabashedly admits she really is a prostitute.
The following day, Robert visits a banker to set up an account. The banker's secretary and daughter, Kay O'Neill, immediately is attracted to the newcomer.
Robert asks Suzie to model for him. As they get better acquainted, he learns she was forced into her profession as a means of survival. She begins falling in love with him, but he tries to dissuade her, although he finds her very appealing. Meanwhile, he also is pursued discreetly by Kay. At a dinner party she hosts, Robert meets Ben Marlowe, whom he recognizes as one of Suzie's clients, with his wife.
Ben offers to make Suzie his mistress, and she accepts in order to make Robert jealous. When Ben reconciles with his wife, he asks Robert to break the news to Suzie. She is so hurt by the rejection that Robert finally admits he loves her.
Initially, the two are very happy, but their relationship becomes strained. One day, Robert follows Suzie on one of her periodic disappearances. He finds her visiting her the infant son she has kept hidden from him, and he accepts the child. When his paintings fail to sell, he finds himself facing financial difficulties, and both Kay and Suzie offer to give him money, but his pride will not let him accept. When Robert learns that Suzie has paid his rent, he drives her away in a fit of anger.
Realizing his mistake, Robert searches for Suzie. When he finally finds her, he learns her baby has died in the annual flooding, and the two commit themselves to each other.
Film, TV and Theatrical Adaptations:
The novel was first adapted into a stage production and was first produced in 1958 by David Merrick and starred William Shatner and France Nuyen. Tsai Chin played the title role in the West End 1959 production. The book was later adapted into a hit 1960 film, directed by Richard Quine and starring William Holden, Nancy Kwan, Sylvia Syms, and Michael Wilding.
In March 2006 a new dance version by Stephen Jefferies, entitled Suzie Wong, was premiered by the Hong Kong Ballet.
Production and Cast:
France Nuyen, who had played the role of Suzie Wong in the Broadway production opposite William Shatner  and was familiar to film audiences from her appearance in South Pacific, originally was signed to reprise the role she had created on stage. After five weeks of location shooting in Hong Kong, the cast and crew - including director Jean Negulesco - moved to London to film exteriors. Nuyen was involved romantically with actor Marlon Brando, and his rumored affair with Barbara Luna was causing her distress. She begin to overeat, and before long was unable to fit in the body-hugging silk cheongsams her character was required to wear. Unwilling to halt production until she could get her weight under control, executive producer Ray Stark replaced her with Nancy Kwan, who was touring the United States and Canada as the understudy to the lead in the road company of the play. Stark had auditioned her for the film but at the time thought she was too inexperienced to handle the lead.
Stark also fired Negulesco and replaced him with Richard Quine. Everyone involved in the completed Hong Kong scenes was required to return to reshoot them with Kawn, and all the unpublished publicity with Nuyen, including an article and photo layout for Esquire, had to be redone.
The film's title song was written by Sammy Cahn and Jimmy Van Heusen.
The film premiered at Radio City Music Hall in New York City.
The World of Suzie Wong: Updated: 5/10/20
Locations from the Book:
The Nam Kok Hotel featured in the story is based on the Luk Kwok Hotel on Gloucester Road in Wanchai, where Mason stayed, although the building is now more modern, the site having been redeveloped in the 1980s. Also, unlike the hotel in the book, the modern hotel is not a pseudo-brothel but is one of many smaller smart hotels on Hong Kong Island.
Visitors today should travel one or two streets further south to Lockhart Road and Jaffe Road for today's versions of similar establishments to the one in the story. The area is sometimes known as "the Suzie Wong district" today, and over the years, some local nightclubs have used the name "Suzie Wong Club". However the book stresses that Suzie is driven into prostitution by poverty; with better economic opportunities now available to local women, most of today's bargirls in Wanchai are recruited from poorer countries, mainly Thailand and the Philippines.
Hong Kong, China.
Bosley Crowther of the New York Times observed that skeptics could assume "that what we have here is a tale so purely idealized in the telling that it wafts into the realm of sheer romance. But the point is that idealization is accomplished so unrestrainedly and with such open reliance upon the impact of elemental clichés that it almost builds up the persuasiveness of real sincerity. Unless you shut your eyes and start thinking, you might almost believe it to be true." He added, "Mr. Patrick's screenplay contrives such a winning yum-yum girl that, even if she is invented, she's a charming little thing to have around . . . And a new girl named Nancy Kwan plays her so blithely and innocently that even the ladies should love her. She and the scenery are the best things in the film."
Variety said, "Holden gives a first-class performance, restrained and sincere. He brings authority and compassion to the role. Kwan is not always perfect in her timing of lines (she has a tendency to anticipate) and appears to lack a full range of depth or warmth, but on the whole she manages a fairly believable portrayal."
Time Out London said because the film is "denied the chance of being honest about its subject, it soon degenerates into euphemistic soap opera, with vague gestures towards bohemianism and lukewarm titillation."
Awards and Nominations:
Nancy Kwan was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama but lost to Greer Garson in Sunrise at Campobello. George Duning was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Score but lost to Dimitri Tiomkin for The Alamo.