3 items from 2011
Directed by Tod Browning
Director Tod Browning grew up in the circus – under the big top – amidst manic clowns, hairy women and human deformity all lined up for our entertainment. These were his people. Roll up, roll up.
Roll up, roll!! Dare you see Freaks: the controversial classic, banned in the UK for 30 years!! Gather round and gasp at these misshapen misfits. Dance with the Pinheads; lust after sexy Siamese Sisters; be confused by Joseph/Josephine the half man, half woman; and cower at the murderous Code of the Freaks!!!!
One of us, one of us!”
It was made in 1932 and has gathered a reputation as a perverse masterpiece. People cower at its name, »
- Tom Fallows
Anna May Wong (1905 – 1961) was the first Asian American movie star to become an international star. Her career spanned over four decades. She started in Technicolor’s first two-strip color movie, The Toll of the Sea (1922) and was chosen by Douglas Fairbanks, Sr. to be in The Thief of Bagdad (1924), and co-starred with Marlene Dietrich in Shanghai Express (1932). Both Hollywood and Europe proclaimed her exoticism and she became known for her fluid grace and languid sexuality on screen.
The port city of Bristol, England, »
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 »
3 items from 2011
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