Daughter of the Dragon; and the Missing Premier Date!

Daughter_of_the_DragonDaughter of the Dragon lobby card

Daughter of the Dragon was based on the novel, Daughter of Fu Manchu, by Sax Rohmer, published in 1931; the rights to the story were quickly acquired and in early April, Warner Oland and the beautiful, the exquisite and exotic, Anna May Wong contracted to star in the motion picture.[1] Wong was to report at the Paramount Studios on June 1.[2] Silent movie star Sessue Hayakawa signed to appear as, Ah Kee, in Daughter of the Dragon and arrived from Japan on June 18, 1931.[3] Hayakawa had not had a starring role since 1924, that (a short subject in 1927) in, I Have Killed; Mr. Hayakawa accepted the part in DOTD by cablegram.[4]

By the last of May, 1931, Daughter of the Dragon was scheduled to be released on August 12;[5] within a week that date was pushed to September 12.[6] Our modern vantage-point of the opening date of Daughter of the Dragon is skewed, DOTD premiered in New York City on Friday, August, 21, 1931[7] and this was not just a New York special engagement, but as we can see from the following notices from San Bernardino, California, DOTD opened there on August 27,[8] Buffalo, opened Daughter of the Dragon on Friday, August 28,[9] and El Paso, TX, on, Thursday, September 3.[10] Then there was wider release for DOTD, occurring on Friday September 4, 1931.

New York Sun, August 21, 1931

New York Sun, Friday, August 21, 1931

New York Sun, Saturday, August 22, 1931

New York Sun, Saturday, August 22, 1931

The_San_Bernardino_County_Sun_Thu__Aug_27__1931_

San Bernardino County Sun, Thursday, August 27, 1931

 

The_San_Bernardino_County_Sun_Fri__Aug_28__1931_

San Bernardino County Sun, Friday, August 28, 1931

 

Buffalo Currier Express, August 28, 1931

Buffalo Currier Express, Friday, August 28, 1931

 

El Paso Herald Post-Tribune, September 1, 1931

El Paso Herald Post-Tribune, Tuesday, September 1, 1931

The_Salt_Lake_Tribune_Fri__Sep_4__1931_

Salt Lake City Tribune, Friday, September 4, 1931

 

Lloyd Corrigan was set to direct in late May of 1931, he assumed double duty by being given the task of adapting the novel for the screen,[11] which he did, along with Monte M. Katterjohn.

Unfortunately, one important cast member has been left out of modern lists for Daughter of the Dragon, that of Mary Wong (her only other credit was as, Little Bride, in, The Good Earth, 1937), younger sister of Anna May Wong.

Photoplay October, 1931

 

Daughter of the Dragon is available on DVD at Loving the Classics.

 

By C. S. Williams

 

[1] Fitchburg sentinel (Fitchburg, Massachusetts) April 4, 1931

[2] Manitowoc Herald-Times (Manitowoc, Wisconsin) April 13, 1931

[3] Motion Picture Herald, June 13, 1931

[4] Motion Picture Herald, May 16, 1931

[5] Motion Picture Herald, May 30, 1931

[6] Motion Picture Herald, June 6, 1931

[7] New York Evening Post (New York, New York) August 22, 1931

[8] San Bernardino County Sun (San Bernardino, California) August 27, 1931

[9] Buffalo Currier Express (Buffalo, New York) August 28, 1931

[10] El Paso Herald-Post (El Paso, Texas) August 31, 1931

[11] Motion Picture Herald, May 23, 1931

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