In the meantime, I've been indulging in the newfound appreciation for my cultural heritage by hunting down films that feature China at its most stylish and among these include the undeniable 1960 Paramount classic The World of Suzie Wong.
The World of Suzie Wong is actually based on a 1957 book of the same name written by Richard Mason and has since been adapted into not only this hit film, but also a play and a ballet, and spawned various unofficial sequels. The storyline is as old as “the oldest profession” from which it draws its inspiration. Set in the 1950s, William Holden stars as the young Englishmen Robert Lomax who, after leaving the National Service, decides to temporarily squat in Hong Kong and try his hand at becoming an artist. He unwittingly takes up residence at a hotel/brothel and eventually falls in love with one of its most popular prostitutes, Suzie Wong (Nancy Kwan).
Now even though I've always loved this movie, it bears mentioning that my love for it comes with certain reservations, as the theme of "whore with the heart of gold" meeting a man of respectable status who thenceforth redeems her has never sat well with me, the same way that similar pictures such as Pretty Woman (1990), Moulin Rouge (2001), Mighty Aphrodite (1995), or even Pygmalion/My Fair Lady tend to leave a slight distaste in my mouth. But in lieu of hitting you with a longwinded feminist diatribe, I think it's better to just adhere to the purposes of this blog and focus on the costumes and art direction instead. And what glorious beauty lies in store for us on those fronts!