Talk like a Train

John Baxter

in Von Sternberg

Published by University Press of Kentucky

Published in print September 2010 | ISBN: 9780813126012
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780813135601 | DOI:
Talk like a Train

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Von Sternberg constructed what he called “a China built of papier-mache” to accommodate the fantasy. He filled it with a thousand Asians, all speaking Cantonese; few of the waiters and domestics recruited as extras spoke the correct language, Mandarin. The Santa Fe Railroad closed off the San Bernardino and Chatsworth stations and rented Von Sternberg a train. Its carriages were painted to his specifications and sometimes by himself, physically, with Chinese characters and camouflage patterns. Miles of trackside country were scoured of every un-Chinese sign, building, or feature in preparation for a running battle between two trains that were never filmed.

Keywords: papier-mache; Cantonese; Mandarin; Chatsworth; carriages

Chapter.  3625 words. 

Subjects: Film

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