Produced by Marshall Neilan Productions; Released 9/26/21 by Associated First National Pictures; Director: Marshall Neilan; Assistant Directors: James Flood and William Scully; Screenplay:Lucita Squier, from four short stories: Story No. 1: "The Bad Samaritan," byThomas McMorrow; Story No. 2: "The Man Who Heard Everything," by Walter Trumbull; Story No. 3: "Hop," by Hugh Wiley; Story No. 4: "The Intrigue," by Marshall Neilan; Cinematography: David Kesson; 6 reels (6339')
CAST: Wesley Barry (Tom Levitt as a boy), Rockliffe Fellowes (Tom Levitt), John Bowers (A Dentist's Patient), Lon Chaney (Chin Gow), Noah Beery (Hindoo), Anna May Wong (Toy Sing), Teddy Sampson, Dorothy Mackaill, Edythe Chapman, Frederick Burton, James Bradbury, Jr., Tammany Young, Harriet Hammond, James Neill, Scott Welsh
SYNOPSIS of "Hop": Chin Gow's father rejoiced when he was born, for boy babies brought good luck, whereas girl babies bring misery. Three of Chin's sisters had been thrown into the Canton river at birth, and this barbaric custom horrified the young boy. To escape the harsh customs of his forefathers, when Chin reaches manhood he goes to San Francisco where he opens a dozen opium dens. He falls in love with Toy Sing and wins her only after tricking her into believing he has sold his evil business. After a long trip to New York, he returns to discover that Toy Sing has given birth to a daughter. Reverting to the cruel ways of his ancestors, he flies into a rage and nearly strangles Toy to death for giving him a girl baby. He threatens to slay the infant, and goes to the next room to calm down with some opium. A friend arrives with a crucifix sent by the local priest. The friend nails it to the wall with a long spike and is shocked to see blood running down the wall. Racing to the next room, they discover that Chin Gow, in an opium- induced stupor, has fallen against the wall, and the spike was driven into his skull.
"HOP is the third number. In this Lon Chaney does another of his remarkable character impersonations...The manner in which fate squares matters is novel and dramatic." ---Moving Picture World
"Although without any particular cinematographic quality, all of the pictures are well made, as animated photographs, and the acting is above the average. Lon Chaney as the Chinese of the third story gives a striking performance." ---The New York Times
"Certainly unworthy of Neilan, from whom we are entitled to expect more. People walked out literally by dozens." ---comments from an exhibitor published in Moving Picture World
NOTES: BITS OF LIFE was four unrelated stories, shot with different casts, by different directors, and at different times. In a 1983 letter to the author, Dorothy Mackaill commented that she never met Lon while working on the film because she was in a different segment. She did work with him two years later in THE NEXT CORNER. The film opens with Neilan telling viewers that he has had so much difficulty finding good scenarios that he has selected four short stories and combined them into a single feature.
© 1998,2008 Jon C. Mirsalis
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