AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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East Is West
Director: Monta Bell (Dir)
Release Date:   23 Oct 1930
Production Date:   Aug-Sep 1930
Duration (in mins):   74
Duration (in feet):   6,683
Duration (in reels):   8
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Cast:   Lupe VĂ©lez (Ming Toy)  
    Lew Ayres (Billy Benson)  
    Edward G. Robinson (Charlie Yong)  
    Mary Forbes (Mrs. Benson)  
    E. Alyn Warren (Lo Sang Kee)  
    Henry Kolker (Mr. Benson)  
    Tetsu Komai (Hop Toy)  
    Edgar Norton (Thomas)  
    Charles Middleton (Dr. Fredericks)  

Summary: When Ming Toy, the eldest daughter of Hop Toy, is about to be sold in a public auction, she is rescued by American Billy Benson and taken to the United States, in care of Lo Sang Kee. Ming Toy soon adopts Western customs, but her past returns to haunt her when Charlie Yong, a powerful figure in San Francisco's Chinatown, becomes obsessed with her and wants to marry her. Benson once more comes to her aid and offers his own home as a refuge, then falls in love with her. Believing she is marked with a stigma for being Oriental, Ming Toy supposes that she will have to endure life-long suffering. However, she discovers that she is really the daughter of missionaries and was kidnapped after her father was murdered. Upon learning this, Yong loses intertest in her and her persecution ends. 

Production Company: Universal Pictures Corp.  
Distribution Company: Universal Pictures Corp.  
Director: Monta Bell (Dir)
Producer: Carl Laemmle (Pres)
  E. M. Asher (Assoc prod)
Writer: Tom Reed (Scr)
  Winifred Eaton (Adpt)
  Tom Reed (Addl dial)
Photography: Jerry Ash (Dir of photog)
  Frank H. Booth (Spec eff photog)
Film Editor: Harry Marker (Film ed)
Sound: C. Roy Hunter (Rec eng)
Country: United States
Language: English

Source Text: Based on the play East Is West by Samuel Shipman and John B. Hymer (New York, 25 Dec 1918).
Authors: John B. Hymer
  Samuel Shipman

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
Universal Pictures Corp. 11/10/1930 dd/mm/yyyy LP1628

Physical Properties: Sd: Movietone

Genre: Drama
Subjects (Major): Chinese Americans
  San Francisco (CA)--Chinatown
Subjects (Minor): Americans in foreign countries

Note: A Spanish-language version of East Is West , entitled Oriente y Occidente , was filmed simultaneous to the English-language version. A 1922 silent version of East Is West was directed by Sidney Franklin and starred Constance Talmadge and Edward Burns (see entry above). 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Film Daily   2 Nov 1930.   
New York Times   1 Nov 1930   p. 32.
Variety   5 Nov 1930   p. 30.

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
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