The Curse of Quon Gwon

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The Curse of Quon Gwon: When the Far East Mingles with the West
Directed byMarion E. Wong
StarringViolet Wong
Harvey Soohoo
CountryUnited States

The Curse of Quon Gwon: When the Far East Mingles with the West is a black-and-white silent film. Filmed circa 1916 or 1917, it was never released and long thought lost. Two reels of an estimated total of seven or eight survived and were restored, rendering the film incomplete.


Marion E. Wong created the Mandarin Film Company in Oakland, California and served as its president. In an interview with the Oakland Tribune in 1916, she expressed her interest in presenting Chinese culture to American audiences through film. She produced, directed, and wrote the screenplay for The Curse of Quon Gwon, the only film her company made. The film tells a love story featuring Wong's sister-in-law, Violet Wong, as the female lead, and Wong herself as the film's villain. Other members of Wong's family also had roles in the film.[1] According to Violet Wong's grandson, Gregory Mark, the film was turned down from distribution.[2]

Restoration Process[edit]

In 1969, Violet Wong told her grandson Gregory Mark about a film canister in the basement of the family home and said: "You do something with it." Mark turned it into 16mm, and a few years later, Violet showed the film to her family.[2] In 2004, filmmaker Arthur Dong learned of two nitrate reels and the 16mm print containing footage from The Curse of Quon Gwon that were in the possession of Violet Wong's descendants while researching his documentary film Hollywood Chinese. He was given access to the footage and took it the Academy Film Archive, which restored the film in 2005.[2][3] As of 2007, it is the earliest known Chinese American feature film and it is also one of the earliest films directed by a woman, Marion E. Wong. Most of the film remains missing.


In December 2006, the film was recognized as a culturally, historically and aesthetically significant film by the National Film Registry.[4][5]


  1. ^ Kwok, Jenny Wah Lau (27 September 2013). "Marion E. Wong". Women Film Pioneers Project. Women Film Pioneers Project at Columbia University. Retrieved 11 August 2017.
  2. ^ a b c Musiker, Cy (7 August 2015). "Made in Oakland in 1916, First Asian American Film Still Inspires". KQED Arts. KQED Inc. Retrieved 11 August 2017.
  3. ^ "The Curse of Quon Gwon". DeepFocus Productions. DeepFocus Productions. Retrieved 11 August 2017.
  4. ^ "Films Added to National Film Registry for 2006 - News Releases". Library of Congress. Retrieved 2016-05-02.
  5. ^ "Complete National Film Registry Listing | Film Registry | National Film Preservation Board | Programs at the Library of Congress | Library of Congress". Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. 20540 USA. Retrieved 2020-09-23.

External links[edit]

  • The Curse of Quon Gwon on IMDb
  • The Curse of Quon Gwon essay by Daniel Eagan in America's Film Legacy: The Authoritative Guide to the Landmark Movies in the National Film Registry, A&C Black, 2010 ISBN 0826429777, pages 55-56 [1]
  • The Curse of Quon Gwon dvd review on [2]