A FILM BY: Tod Browning
WRITTEN BY: Daisy H. Andrews (play), Gardner Bradford (titles)
STARRING: Priscilla Dean, Matt Moore, Wallace Beery

Featuring a live musical score performed by Music Box House Organist Dennis Scott.

DRIFTING, Todd Browning's last film for Universal, is an old-fashioned barnstormer about the drug trade, loose morals, and the redemptive power of love. Based on a 1910 play by John Colton that had enjoyed a successful Broadway revival in 1922, DRIFTING toned down its source material considerably at the request of Browning’s regular star Priscilla Dean, whose “lady of easy virtue” became a run-of-the-mill opium smuggler in China. Dean’s petty criminal finds herself making common cause with her underworld rival Wallace Beery and strives to throw government agent Matt Moore off their trail. An eighteen-year-old Anna May Wong appears as a local opium supplier’s daughter, who develops a crush on Moore. The unsigned New York Times review probably says it best: “a very improbable story, directed with gusty flights of imagination.” 

Print courtesy of George Eastman Museum. Preservation funded by the National Film Preservation Foundation. 

Co-presented by Chicago Film Society

Technical Information

Production Year: 1923
Country of Origin: United States
Language: English
Run Time: 82 mins
Format: 35mm