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Just before making his talkie directorial debut with Atlantic, director E.A. DuPont dashed off the silent "backstage" drama Piccadilly. By the time the film was released in 1929, talking pictures had taken a firm hold of the British film industry, obliging DuPont to reshoot much of the picture with dialogue. American screen favorites Anna May Wong and Gilda Gray (the girl who popularized the "shimmy dance") head the cast, the former as Shosho, a dishwasher in the London nightclub where the latter, cast as dancer Mabel Greenfield, performs nightly. Jealous of Mabel's… More
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 88%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Dupont has an original way of employing camera movement to suggest erotic chemistry between characters, and Wong, who even provoked a rave notice from Walter Benjamin, is as memorable and confident as Louise Brooks was in the films of G.W. Pabst."
‑ Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader
"The melodramatic machinations of the plot may be weak, but Dupont's assured direction, Alfred Jünge's art direction, and Werner Brandes' lighting create an atmosphere so hauntingly evocative as to be satisfying in itself."
‑ , Time Out
"Dupont's stunning evocation of London's roaring twenties would be of cinematic interest even without Wong; but her sultry presence makes this backstage melodrama a must-see."
‑ Robert Pardi, TV Guide's Movie Guide
"A drama of sexual and racial politics set against the buzz of jazz-age London culture, Piccadilly is an incredibly modern silent film featuring a career-best performance from Anna May Wong."
‑ , Film4
"Wong has acquired a loyal cult following over the years, and Dupont's exquisitely filmed episodes show why."
‑ David Sterritt, Christian Science Monitor
"Like most English pictures, the drama is crudely shaped and conventionally directed. Anna May Wong does the best acting."
‑ , TIME Magazine
"A swinging London club; the breakup of a famous performing couple; a well-known dancer being replaced by one younger and more exotic; a murder. All juicy fodder for plot, and it's a good thing."
‑ Marta Barber, Miami Herald
"One of the overlooked great classic silent films."
‑ Dennis Schwartz, Ozus' World Movie Reviews
"A sophisticated exploration of racial and sexual taboos."
‑ James Verniere, Boston Herald
"A wonderfully entertaining last hurrah from England's silent cinema."
‑ Phil Hall, Film Threat
"Music is the usual medley of pop dance stuff, with the cabaret set about the best thing in the production. Camerawork on close-ups is excellent."
‑ Variety Staff, Variety
"[Wong's] role of Shosho, the red-hot dancing star of London's Piccadilly nightclub, shows her at her dramatic and erotic peak."
‑ Michael Wilmington, Chicago Tribune
"It's difficult to imagine a Hollywood production allowing an Asian star to be as commanding as Wong is in Piccadilly."
‑ Ed Gonzalez, Slant Magazine
"[Wong] is not top billed, but her entrance in Piccadilly -- and her general presence -- make her the star."
‑ Jeffrey M. Anderson, Combustible Celluloid
More reviews for Piccadilly on Rotten Tomatoes