March 23, 2023

BFI Releasing Silent Era Classic Piccadilly Starring Anna May Wong


Cinephiles who adore the silent film age of film, BFI have treat for you next month. Releasing E A Dupont‘s 1929 silent era classic Piccadilly releasing on Blu-ray for the first time in June.

One of the pinnacles of British silent cinema, Piccadilly is a sumptuous showbusiness melodrama seething with sexual and racial tension starring the Chinese American screen goddess Anna May Wong. Beautifully restored by the BFI National Archive, Piccadilly is accompanied by Neil Brand’s evocative score, performed by some of the UK’s leading jazz players.

The film will come with numerous extras include a newly recorded video essay on the film by the BFI’s silent film expert and a new in-depth video biography of Anna May Wong.

Anna May Wong stars as Shosho, a scullery maid in a fashionable London nightclub whose sensuous tabletop dance catches the eye of suave club owner Valentine Wilmot. She rises to become the toast of London and the object of Wilmot’s erotic obsession – prompting the bitter jealousy of Mabel, his former lover and star dancer (played by Ziegfeld Follies star Gilda Gray).

This stylish evocation of Jazz Age London, directed by German émigré E A Dupont, boasts the dazzlingly fluid cinematography of Werner Brandes and atmospheric sets by Alfred Junge – ranging from the opulent West End nightclub to seedy Limehouse.

BFI have released a clip from this film, as our actress seduces…

It’s a bold, beautifully crafted, modern picture… one of the truly great films of the silent era’ Martin Scorsese

Special features

  • Presented in High Definition, featuring Neil Brand’s jazz-influenced score
  • Prologue to Piccadilly (1929, 5 mins): sound prologue screened in US cinemas
  • Return to Piccadilly (2021, 17 mins): a newly recorded video essay on the film by the BFI’s silent film expert Bryony Dixon
  • Talk of the Town (2021, 53 mins): a new, in-depth video biography of Anna May Wong by author and film critic Jasper Sharp
  • Scoring Piccadilly (2004, 20 mins): composer Neil Brand reflects on his approach to creating music for the film
  • Cosmopolitan London (1924, 10 mins): the cultural melting pot that was London in the 1920s is captured on camera in this fascinating period piece, with a score by John Sweeney
  • Image gallery
  • *** First pressing only*** Illustrated booklet with essays by the BFI National Archive’s silent film curator Bryony Dixon, writer, composer, musician and broadcaster Neil Brand, and Ian Christie, Anniversary Professor of film and media history at Birkbeck, University of London, notes on the special features and full credits

UK / 1929 / black and white / 109 mins / silent with music / original aspect ratio 1.33:1 // BD50: 1080p, 24fps, LPCM 2.0 stereo audio (48kHz/24-bit)

BFI will release Piccadilly on Blu-Ray from 21st June 2021.