The World of Suzie Wong William Holden, Nancy Kwan, Sylvia Syms, Michael Wilding Director: Richard Quine The iconic Hong Kong good-time girl is approaching the half-century mark, and while her age is showing, the celluloid world she inhabits remains a visually resplendent reminder of what the city has lost and gained since its release. On the heels of its success as a novel and stage production, the 1960 movie version of The World of Suzie Wong is melodramatic to be sure, its portrayal of carefree prostitutes so blatantly fantastical that even critics at the time took notice. Suzie, portrayed with a mixture of lovely innocence and unthreatening seduction by Nancy Kwan (right), is the supposed dream of every red-blooded middle-aged male: a fiery but compliant sex kitten who sells herself for the noblest of reasons, but is more than willing to chuck it all for the right man. The lucky guy in this case is Robert Lomax (William Holden), an American architect twice her age who moves to Wan Chai to pursue his dreams of becoming an artist. Suzie is his muse and their romance follows a course that is less Hong Kong than Hollywood, down to the faux bohemianism of Lomax's HK$270-a-month room in the atmospheric Nam Kok Hotel (reportedly modelled after the then-waterfront Luk Kwok Hotel). His spacious garret includes a rooftop with sweeping harbour views, gorgeously captured by the Technicolor widescreen cinematography of Geoffrey Unsworth (Oscar winner for Tess and Cabaret). It is the movie's considerable usage of on-location photography that makes The World of Suzie Wong a compelling watch and transcends its hokey plot. That's not to say that Holden and Kwan don't deliver sincere performances. Indeed, John Patrick's script has a welcome sprinkling of humour and even gives voice to some sly criticism of expat colonial life. In this regard, the cast is enhanced by the presence of British stalwarts such as Michael Wilding and Sylvia Syms, who represent the kind of 'polite' society Lomax attempts to avoid but ironically relies upon to earn enough to relieve Suzie of the need to ply her trade. Ultimately, it is the locations that outshine the stars. From the opening montage with Lomax disembarking at the pre-Ocean Terminal wharfs and crossing the harbour to the lamented Star Ferry pier; to the floating restaurant lunch in a junk-filled Aberdeen, the excursions to bustling markets, and a grand finale in which landslides wash away perilously perched squatter villages, The World of Suzie Wong is a time capsule of a world that for better and for worse no longer exists in this place we call home.