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Von Sternberg$
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John Baxter

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780813126012

Published to Kentucky Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5810/kentucky/9780813126012.001.0001

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Talk like a Train

Talk like a Train

(p.142) Talk like a Train
Von Sternberg

John Baxter

University Press of Kentucky

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

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