First Made-In-Singapore American Film WIT'S END (1971) Finally Makes Its Debut!

Source: The Arts House

Audience in Singapore will have a rare chance to plumb the crazy and seedy side of the country through the 1971 B-movie WIT'S END (aka THE G.I. EXECUTIONER), arguably the first American film to be produced and shot entirely in Singapore. The film will be shown for the first time in Singapore at The Arts House this January.

In addition to the week long screening from 23 – 30 January, the film's producer Marvin Farkas will also launch his memoir that recounts the improbable tale of making the film, 'Wit’s End: The Untold Story of the First American Film Made In Singapore'. Farkas will be joined by his director Joel M. Reed, via Skype from New York, in a discussion that promises to be revelatory as much as it is nostalgic.

Says William Phuan, Director, The Arts House, “WIT'S END is an unintentionally goofy film that strives to be a noirish spy thriller but with some exotic Orientalist flair. It's a wonder that it got made at all in Singapore, even before the notorious Saint Jack. Merits of the film notwithstanding, we thought it would be a riot to show it since it‟s never been shown before. Furthermore, the film is an important chapter of Singapore's film history, hitherto unknown until now.”

WIT'S END was filmed in some locations very near The Arts House, becoming an unwitting documentary of places in Singapore that were long gone or changed beyond recognition. The film, which follows jaded American Marine and journalist Dave Dearborn as he chases down mobsters, prostitutes and a mysterious substance called 'anti-matter', features rare historic footage of places such as Clifford Pier; the Ellenborough Market, now Central Mall; the old Raffles Institution, now Raffles City mall; and one of only two public toilets that once stood in the middle of traffic, now the Clarke Quay area.

The Arts House will be organising a photo trail, guided by Alex Tan of the Singapore Heritage Society, that retraces scenes from the film. The photo trail will take participants back to the olden days where the area was alive with trade, godowns
and a certain infamous public toilet.

Says producer and author Marvin Farkas, “I am delighted that WIT'S END could finally be shown in Singapore, and I’m excited to see how the audience would react to the film and my memoir.”

A photo exhibition will also be organised at The Arts House, featuring the behind-the- scenes making of the film, rare film stills, as well as newspaper reportage in The Straits Times on the movie which was then known as No Visa for Singapore (“Lead roles going a-begging in 'No Visa' film”; “Shooting begins soon, but still no Mei Lee”).

WIT'S END will be screened at The Arts House from 23 – 30 January, and the photo exhibition will run from 14 – 31 January. Marvin Farkas will launch his memoir on 26 January, where a discussion with film historian Ben Slater and director Joel Reed over Skype is being planned. The photo trail will take place on 27 January. Tickets to the film and photo trail can be purchased on

About The Arts House at The Old Parliament
Occupying the almost 200-year-old building that was Singapore's first Parliament House, The Arts House since its opening in 2004 has been offering its visitors a broad spectrum of lifestyle options, while at the same time playing an active role in the Singapore arts and creative scene. Since 2011, The Arts House has been focusing on the development of Literary Arts, while supporting and presenting programmes and festivals that aim to give a wide and multidisciplinary experience to our audiences. For more information, please visit


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