Singapore Sue (1932)
Starrnig: Anna Chang, Joe Wong, and Cary Grant
Director: Casey Robinson
Rating: Five of Ten Stars
Four sailors looking for fun visit a cabaret in Singapore encounter a singer with a surprising background.
"Singapore Sue" is a ten-minute short film with three so-so songs by once-popular but now-forgotten performers, some weak banter, and not much else. It is, however, still of some interest to film-buffs.
First, "Singapore Sue" features Cary Grant in one of his earliest film appearances. It's not a terribly impressive role, and, frankly, the character might be downright annoying if played by someone other than Cary Grant, but it's fascinating to see him this early in his career, playing a part unlike any other I'd seen him in.noteworthy role, and This ten-minute short has three songs, and banter between Grant and Anna Chang (as the title character), and not much else. It is, however, remarkable for the fact that all Asian characters--even the two major parts--are played by Asians rather than White people in make-up.
Second, the film is somewhat unusual, because the major Chinese characters are portrayed by actual Asians instead of White actors in heavy make-up. This is probably explained by the fact Anna Chang and Joe Wong were popular vaudeville performers, and the film was made as a vehicle to showcase their talents, or to draw their fans to the movie theaters. Wong (who was born in the Philippines, and who's real name was Jose Ocampo Cobarrubias) went onto to have a sideline in acting that stretched through the late 1980s, but
Chang does not appear to have had much of a screen career.
Take a few minutes out of your day to see a different Cary Grant than you may be used to, and enjoy the musical stylings of a pair of forgotten performers, right here, on this post, via the embedded video below!