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Chinatown Nights (1929 film)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Chinatown Nights
Directed byWilliam A. Wellman
Written by
Produced byDavid O. Selznick
CinematographyHenry W. Gerrard
Edited byAlyson Shaffer
Music by
Distributed byParamount Pictures
Release date
  • March 30, 1929 (1929-03-30)
Running time
83 minutes
CountryUnited States

Chinatown Nights, also known as Tong War, is a 1929[1] film starring Wallace Beery and begun as a silent film then finished as an all-talking sound one via dubbing. Directed by William A. Wellman and released by Paramount Pictures, Chinatown Nights also stars Florence Vidor, former wife of director King Vidor, who did not dub her own voice and quit the movie business immediately afterward, preferring not to work in sound films; her voice in Chinatown Nights was supplied by actress Nella Walker. The supporting cast includes Warner Oland as a Chinese gangster and Jack Oakie as a stuttering reporter. The movie was based upon the story "Tong War" by Samuel Ornitz.

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Wellman and the “shotgun mike”

During the filming of Chinatown Nights as a silent feature, Paramount abruptly stopped production. A dialogue script was quickly prepared and sound technicians and equipment arrived on the set so as to shoot the picture as a “talkie.”[2]

Film historian Scott Eyman reports that director Wellman clashed with the soundmen over the positioning of the overhead microphone during a tracking shot involving Wallace Berry and Florence Vidor. Technicians insisted that the actors stop whenever they spoke, interrupting the camera motion. Frustrated, Wellman commandeered the microphone, and holding it in his lap on the tracking platform, aimed it at the actors and proceeded with the shoot; the audio proved satisfactory.[3]

Eyman notes that Wellman “received no credit for the innovation” of the “ “shotgun microphone”, but utilized this method with “extraordinary virtuosity” in the boxing drama  The Man I Love (1929).[4]

See also


  1. ^ "AFI|Catalog". Retrieved February 12, 2023.
  2. ^ Eyman, 1997 p. 227-228
  3. ^ Eyman, 1997 p. 228
  4. ^ Eyman, 1997 p. 228-229


External links

This page was last edited on 6 May 2024, at 20:02
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