~Old San Francisco~
1927
~Dolores Costello~
~Plot Synopsis~
In 1769, Captain Enrique de Solano Y Vasquez claims a large section of land in California for Spain
and establishes a vast rancho on the Pacific Coast. The Vasquez rancho prospers until 1848, when
gold is discovered at Sutter's Mill. By 1849, the nearby city of San Francisco is thriving, but the
Vasquez rancho, now owned by Enrique's grandsons, suffers because the workers have fled for the
gold fields. One night, Captain Stoner, commander of one of the family’s ships, rides into the
hacienda and shoots the elder Vasquez grandson. The younger son, Hernandez, subsequently kills
Stoner, but the family goes into further decline. By 1906, Hernandez is an old man living at the
hacienda with his grand daughter Dolores. One day, attorney Michael Brandon pays a call with his
nephew, Terrence O'Shaughnesy. The kind Terry immediately becomes smitten with Dolores, but
is forced to leave abruptly when Hernandez refuses Brandon's offer to buy the rancho. The next
day, in San Francisco, when Brandon tells his client, Chris Buckwell, that Hernandez refuses to
sell, the ruthless Buckwell orders him to start foreclosure proceedings, dismissing Terry's
objections. Buckwell, known as a fierce opponent of the burgeoning Chinese population, pressures
local Chinese leaders to sell their property outside Chinatown, incurring their enmity. Unknown to
them and his wealthy white associates, Buckwell is actually half-Chinese himself and has a secret
passageway in his cellar that enables him to travel underground to Chinatown, where he assumes a
Chinese persona. Only a devoted Chinese girl and his dwarf brother, Chang Loo, whom he cruelly
chains in the cage, know Buckwell's secret. When Terry goes to the hacienda to help Dolores and
her grandfather, Hernandez is reluctant to trust him and says that Don Luis, the son of an old
friend, will come to their aid. Terry quickly leaves after realizing Hernandez intends for Don Luis to
marry Dolores. However, after Luis reacts badly to Hernandez's plea for financial help, Dolores
convinces her grandfather to let her seek Terry's aid. Knowing that Terry was going to the Poodle
Dog café in the Tenderloin district of San Francisco, Dolores takes a carriage to town, but is
shocked when she finds a drunken Terry carousing with some loose women. As she abruptly leaves
the café, she is observed by Buckwell, who is attracted to her and tells Brandon that he himself will
handle matters regarding the Vasquez rancho. The next day, while Dolores and Hernandez talk of
finding someone to help them, they see Buckwell in their chapel, pretending to be praying. Both
Hernandez and Dolores are impressed with his charm and apparent devotion and gratefully accept
his offer of assistance. After her grandfather goes to the city, Dolores sadly thinks of Terry and
makes a wish that she could see him again. Just then he comes to the Hacienda to beg her
forgiveness, explaining that he was distraught over her engagement to Don Luis. She then reveals
that she is not engaged and forgives him. Later, as Buckwell had suggested, Hernandez comes to
his house to show Brandon the Spanish land grant papers. Just as Brandon explains that
Hernandez is lucky to have the patronage of such a powerful man as Buckwell, Terry arrives and
warns Hernandez that he cannot trust Buckwell, who secretly has been plotting to obtain the
Rancho by having him turn over the land grant papers. Realizing that Terry is speaking the truth,
Hernandez leaves. Meanwhile, Buckwell has arrived at the hacienda and attempts to force himself
on Dolores, but is stopped by the arrival of her grandfather. Some time later, surveyors come to the
rancho and begin staking out the property. When they refuse to leave, despite Hernandez'
protests, Dolores hands the Vasquez family sword to her grandfather, who convinces them to
leave. That night, Buckwell returns to the Hacienda but is greeted with anger by Hernandez, who
has a fatal heart attack as he attempts to draw his sword. Shaken by the old man’s death, Buckwell
is unnerved when he looks at Dolores, imagining that her ancestors stand guard beside her. In the
moonlight, Buckwell's face reveals the secret of his heritage to Dolores, who now recognizes that he
is a "Mongol." After Hernandez’ funeral, Dolores reveals Buckwell's secret to Terry, who suggests
that she can stop him by telling the leaders of Chinatown, who will mete out the justice of their
race. They then go to Chinatown and inform leaders Lu Fong and Chang Sue Lee. Their revelation
is overheard by the Chinese girl, who arranges for Terry and Dolores to be kidnapped and taken to
Buckwell's house. The next day, when the leaders of Chinatown confront Buckwell with Dolores'
accusation, Buckwell dismisses the allegation and insists that Dolores is actually a guest in his
house. He then has Dolores brought into his study to repudiate her charges. Knowing that Terry's
life is in danger if she does not confirm Buckwell's lies, she says that she had spoken falsely.
However, when she realizes that Buckwell can no longer make a signal to the Chinese girl to kill
Terry, she recants, saying that she can prove that he is Chinese because he has a Chinese shrine in
his cellar where he has hidden his Mongolian brother. Over Buckwell's protests, the group takes
him to the cellar, where they see Chang Loo. Before the others can capture Buckwell, however, he
escapes, taking Dolores with him. He and the Chinese girl then take her to a brothel owned by
Chang Sue Lee, intending to sell her to the highest bidder. Meanwhile, with the help of Chang Loo,
Terry navigates the underground tunnels leading from Buckwell's house to Chinatown. Just as
Dolores is about to be sold, Buckwell taunts her, prompting her to pray. Moments later, a
devastating earthquake strikes San Francisco, toppling buildings and killing many, including
Buckwell, but sparring the lives of Dolores and Terry. Some time later, the couple lives happily with
their daughter in a rebuilt San Francisco.  

Plot Synopsis from afi.com
Directed by: Alan Crosland    

Written by:
Darryl F. Zanuck - story
Anthony Coldeway - screenplay
Jack Jarmuth - titles
~Cast~

Dolores Costello ...  Dolores Vasquez
Warner Oland ...  Chris Buckwell
Charles Emmett Mack ...  Terrence O'Shaughnessy (as Chas. E. Mack)
Josef Swickard ...  Don Hernandez de Vasquez
Anders Randolf ...  Michael Brandon (as Anders Randolph)
Angelo Rossitto ...  Chang Loo - the Dwarf (as Angelo Rossita)
Anna May Wong ...  A Flower of the Orient
Lawson Butt ...  Captain Enrique de Solano Y Vasquez - in Prologue
Walter McGrail ...  Vasquez's Grandson Who is Shot - in Prologue
Otto Matieson ...  Vasquez's Second Grandson - in Prologue
Martha Mattox ...  Mother Vasquez - in Prologue
Tom Santschi ...  Captain Stoner - in Prologue
Louise Carver ...  Big-nosed Woman on the Mile of Hell (uncredited)
Rose Dione ...  Madame in Den of Iniquity (uncredited)
Willie Fung ...  Chang Sue Lee's Laughing Servant (uncredited)
Tom McGuire ...  Man at Poodle Dog Cafe (uncredited)
John Miljan ...  Don Luis (uncredited)
Sôjin ...  Lu Fong (uncredited)
James Wang ...  One of Chang Sue Lee's Servants (uncredited)
~Remaining Credits~

Produced & Released by: Warner Bros. Pictures

Produced by: Darryl F. Zanuck  
Original Music by: Hugo Riesenfeld  
Cinematography by: Hal Mohr  
Film Editing by: Harold McCord    
Art Direction by: Ben Carré    
Costume Design by: Alpharetta    
Assistant Director: Gordon Hollingshead  
Art Titles by: Victor Vance  
Electrical Effects by: F.N. Murphy  
Music Compiler: Hugo Riesenfeld
Music Conductor: Josiah Zuro  

Length: 8 Reels
Runtime: 88 Minutes
Released: September 4, 1927
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