Oscar Nominated Moody Pt.2: From Fagin to Merlin - But No Harry Potter

Ron Moody as Fagin in 'Oliver!' based on Charles Dickens' 'Oliver Twist.' Ron Moody as Fagin in Dickens musical 'Oliver!': Box office and critical hit (See previous post: "Ron Moody: 'Oliver!' Actor, Academy Award Nominee Dead at 91.") Although British made, Oliver! turned out to be an elephantine release along the lines of – exclamation point or no – Gypsy, Star!, Hello Dolly!, and other Hollywood mega-musicals from the mid'-50s to the early '70s.[1] But however bloated and conventional the final result, and a cast whose best-known name was that of director Carol Reed's nephew, Oliver Reed, Oliver! found countless fans.[2] The mostly British production became a huge financial and critical success in the U.S. at a time when star-studded mega-musicals had become perilous – at times downright disastrous – ventures.[3] Upon the American release of Oliver! in Dec. 1968, frequently acerbic The
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DVD Double Feature - Anna May Wong in Java Head & Tiger Bay (1934)

It’s taken pretty much for granted in modern cinema that, for a Chinese film role, you cast a Chinese actor. Just as leading men no longer black up in boot polish to play Othello, actresses long ago stopped painting their eyes slanted to look Chinese. It’s daft, it’s unconvincing, and to the actors turned away for being ‘too Chinese for screen’, it’s racist.

In Anna May Wong’s day though, this was standard practice. In spite of this idotiic, pig-headed racism shown to her by studio bosses, Wong carved out an enviable career for herself, becoming the world’s first Asian-American star. She cut her acting teeth playing alongside the inimitable Douglas Fairbanks in The Thief of Bagdad (1924); Shanghai Express (1932) saw her upstage Marlene Dietrich in the slinky seductress stakes. After all that, Hollywood’s ridiculous Hays Code forbade her to share an on-screen kiss with
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