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May 1995, Week 5


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David Desser <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Sun, 28 May 1995 10:16:23 -0600
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Missy Price may have been thinking of THE BITTER TEA OF GENERAL YEN (Frank
Capra, 1933).  Sexual tension/attraction/romance betwen "white" and Asian
was a popular motif of films SINCE THE SILENT ERA.  DeMille's THE CHEAT
(1915) is certainly the most famous, along with Griffith's BROKEN BLOSSOMS
(1919).  On this issue see Gina Marchetti, ROMANCE AND THE 'YELLOW PERIL'
and various essays, including mine, in, Lester Friedman, ed., UNSPEAKABLE
   Let's not forget the MANY films with "Indian"/"White" romance, etc.,
including the forthcoming POCAHANTAS.
   Interestingly, but not surprisingly, silent films virtually NEVER dealt
with black-white romance, even to conclude (like many silent films dealing
with romance with Asian or native American objects fo desire) that such a
union was doomed.
    As far as I can tell, it was not unitl the 1960's that the love object
of color was a man (e.g., A MAJORITY OF ONE, with Alec Guinness as a
Japanese businessman loved by Roz Russell); it was always "white man"
involved with a woman of color (but not black) before this time.
     I'm also remembering 100 RIFLES with Jim Brown and Raquel Welch
breaking the taboo of black, white interracial sex and attraction, though
this was in 1969.
  This stuff is off the top of my head, so any corrections/amendations are
certainly possible and would be welcome.
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