Classic Movies Aficionado - The World of Suzie Wong

Posted by Jennifer Slater on September 23, 2013 at 11:20 AM

As a lover of classic movies, I've decided to write about my favorites this week.

Today I will start with one of my all time favorite classics -  "The World of Suzie Wong," a film made in 1960 starring William Holden and Nancy Kwan. It tells the tale of an American architect, Robert Lomax, who goes to Hong Kong to try his hand at being a painter. He meets a beautiful, young Chinese woman on a ferry who appears to be from the upper class and very proper. He meets her again later, only to discover that she is a  prostitute. As he gets to know Suzie better, he learns that she was forced into prostitution as a child because of her improvished circumstances. She falls in love with him, despite his attempts to dissuade her, and he is drawn to her, but the two have many obstacles to overcome before they can find happiness together. 

I first saw this film as a young girl in my native country, Guyana, long before I fully understood what the movie was about. You see censorship was a big part of Guyanese culture, so movies with provocative themes and plots were not shown in the theaters there and if they were, we only saw the PG versions. This was fine by me as I grew up with parents who never swore in front of us and in a country where talking about sex was almost taboo, but I digress.

This movie appealed to my romantic nature and the superb acting by Nancy Kwan made it memorable. It had all the qualities I like in movies ... a good plot, great actors/actresses, spectacular scenery and the requisite happy ending. The fact that it was about an interracial romance, and that Suzie was played by a true Chinese actress and not a Caucasian actress made up to look Chinese, was a big plus. Not only was Nancy Kwan wonderful in the movie, but her beauty and style was admirable. She made the Chinese dresses with the high slits on the sides fashionable during that era. William Holden was terrific in his role as Robert and you are convinced of his passion for Suzie, but I believe that it was Nancy Kwan who stole the movie.

 If you're into classic movies, I highly recommend this one. It will make you laugh and cry, but you will be left with warm fuzzies at the end.



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