A Colonial India Follow-Up to Thomas Ince's Cycle with Tsuru Aoki
Tsuru Aoki's Japanese cycle for Thomas Ince ultimately did more to launch the future of the husband she married while the series was in progress, Sessue Hayakawa, than for her own career. However, as I outline in my book on Ince, while Hayakawa did not return to the Ince fold, Aoki did. She returned to the Ince lot to enact the role of an East Indian in The Beckoning Flame, released at the beginning of 1916. The daughter of a nobleman, she meets a kind Englishman just prior to her marriage to a debauched prince who dies on their wedding night. Sentenced to suttee, she is rescued by the Englishman. They live together, she in disguise as his young male servant, until she hears that a previous woman he loved in England has now decided to accept him. To avoid a scandal, the Indian finally performs the delayed suttee. C. Gardner Sullivan supplied the five reel story, directed by Charles Swickard; the other Indian roles were taken by Anglo-American actors.
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