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speedracer5

History of Blackface (Yellow Face, etc.) in Film.

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5 hours ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

ps- sorry for making it "all about me" just thought MAYBE it'd add some perspective.

I totally enjoyed your "all about me" confessional! Would you hate me for saying that I actually paid money once to see Sam Kinison in concert?

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Fascinating topic!

There probably are a lot of offensive blackface scenes in films, but for the most frightening, it has to be Joan Crawford in "Torch Song"!

Good thing that her paramour in the film, Michael Wilding was supposed to be blind, as the sight of her blackface make-up against dyed red hair and those giant caterpillar eyebrows, could give anyone glaucoma!

sistercelluloid.com/2014/07/13/torch-song-joan-crawford-in-blackface-and-thats-not-all/

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43 minutes ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

Damn, Lawrence Olivier looked RIDICULOUS in blackface.

Well, people in blackface generally look ridiculous, whether it's a minstrel performer or Gene Wilder in "Silver Streak." But one of the things that makes Olivier's "Othello" must-see viewing is the story that the great actor studied the funky movements of his friend Sammy Davis, Jr. to prepare for the role.

Image result for laurence olivier "othello" gif

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36 minutes ago, CaveGirl said:

I totally enjoyed your "all about me" confessional! Would you hate me for saying that I actually paid money once to see Sam Kinison in concert?

It's cool, my sister and I used to absolutely love the music video he did for his take on The Troggs' WILD THING which featured disgraced PTLA(?) secretary Jessica Hahn. I think we even bought the single on vinyl...

"WHY DIDNT YOU TELL ME YOU WERE A DEMON FROM HELL?!?!?!?!?!"**

**Which my sister and I would often Yell at each other at the dinner table much to the confusion, and slight bemusement, of our parents.

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35 minutes ago, jakeem said:

Well, people in blackface generally look ridiculous, whether it's a minstrel performer or Gene Wilder in "Silver Streak." But one of the things that makes Olivier's "Othello" must-see viewing is the story that the great actor studied the funky movements of his friend Sammy Davis, Jr. to prepare for the role.

Image result for laurence olivier "othello" gif

Oh my!

Larry's blackface could've used some help, but Larry's sassface is ON POINT.

"Thou art in danger, Gurl."

 

 

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A Hungarian and an Austro-Hungarian playing sultry African ladies: Steffi Duna in Anthony Adverse; Hedy Lamarr in White Cargo.

mev-10972341.jpg

MV5BODE1NTA2NTAtZGQyMS00Njk1LWE0MjktYjll

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I'm surprised that no one mentioned "Broken Blossoms" yet. I thought this was actually a really touching and progressive use of yellow face, if such a thing is possible.

Image result for broken blossoms 1919

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One of the most interesting examples of casting against racial types:

What actress is best known for only two films, in each of which she played an ethnicity other than her own, and a different ethnicity in each film?

Hint #1: She had played both roles on stage.

Hint #2: Both films are musicals.

Answer: Juanita Hall, an African-American woman who played Bloody Mary in South Pacific and a Chinese-American woman in Flower Drum Song. She did such a great job singing "Bali Ha'i" in South Pacific.

A couple of other favorite performances where actors played other ethnicities: Maria Ouspenskaya in The Rains Came and Florence Bates in The Moon and Sixpence. If you've only seen Florence Bates playing overbearing dowagers, you may be surprised at how well she plays a wise Tahitian woman.

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The ubiquitous African-American character actor Frank Silvera (1914-1970) was frequently cast as non-black characters in stage, screen and television productions. From 1967 to 1970, he played the prosperous rancher Don Sebastián Montoya in the NBC Western series "The High Chaparral."

Silvera, Frank (1914–1970)

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2 hours ago, Gershwin fan said:

I'm surprised that no one mentioned "Broken Blossoms" yet. I thought this was actually a really touching and progressive use of yellow face, if such a thing is possible.

Image result for broken blossoms 1919

Besides BROKEN BLOSSOMS, there is also THE SON DAUGHTER (193?) it has an incredibly memorable ending. I actually think Roman Navarro is better in his role than Helen Hayes is in hers

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Sam Jaffe in GUNGA DIN gives probably the greatest brownface performance of all time. It is fantastic. 

Robert Donat is superb in THE INN OF THE SIXTH HAPPINESS 

Still don't make it right tho.

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Image result for katharine hepburn dragon seed

Katharine Hepburn in Dragon Seed (1944) instantly comes to mind. I have not yet seen this film, and don't know if I will (only because the plot doesn't interest me all that much). 

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19 hours ago, LawrenceA said:

I've often wondered, though, why the supporting roles in such films couldn't have been played by racially authentic actors. There were large Hispanic and Asian communities in California, with each having theatrical companies that could have supplied more talent. 

Many theaters located in the southern states made it clear they didn't want to show any films portraying blacks or any minorities in a positive light. Or if blacks were in a film ,like Lena Horne singing a song for example, it was inserted in the film such that it would be easy to be removed when shown down south. 

Filmmakers had to ask themselves, "why take the chance of having a film ignored because you included a certain actor?". It simply wasn't worth the risk.

Quote

However, I really find it distasteful to see black comedians resort to stereotypes in their own performance with buggy eyes, lazy shuffling and whining. I'd venture to guess these comedians were embarrassed to "act" that way, but had to make a living.

Actually, I'm sure many didn't mind as that was their shtick. Remember, the minstrel stereotypes go back centuries before film ever existed. It appeared in printed media since there was printed media so it was nothing new. It wasn't really an issue of "it should be banned !" as much as there should have been balance. If there were as many positive portrayals to balance out the negative ones, it wouldn't have been so detestable.

If there had been roles of doctors, judges, businessmen etc... and many others offered to and played by minorities, those embarrassing ones might not have been noticed. But, of course there were those in society who didn't want certain people to gain any self respect. This goes far beyond just cinema.

 

13 hours ago, TikiSoo said:

Hattie McDaniel & Louise Beavers so often played maids, but for the most part they played women with dignity & wisdom.

 

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A Hungarian and an Austro-Hungarian playing sultry African ladies: Steffi Duna in Anthony Adverse; Hedy Lamarr in White Cargo.

That was another product of the Production code. The code forbade interracial relationships as well as anything implied in any way. Remember, these are days when married couples were shown as sleeping in single beds. So virtually anything could be construed as flirting. Just having a white man and a black woman in the same room could cause a scene to be rejected by the Code panel.

Therefore, only women like Ms. Beavers and McDaniel could get roles. An attractive woman like Josephine Baker or the lady in my avatar (Nina Mae McKinney), had to leave to country to be able to perform in roles suited to their talent.  Think about it, too pretty for Hollywood.

Although, I have to say, when the actress looks like Hedy Lamarr or Steffi Duna, its hard to say "bring someone else in !"

 

19 hours ago, speedracer5 said:

  Though many times, it is very apparent that the actor is not the ethnicity he or she is supposed to be--Shirley MacLaine in Gambit comes to mind (MacLaine, Asian? please).  Some of these portrayals are horrible--Mickey Rooney as Japanese Mr. Yunioshi in Breakfast at Tiffany's is the most obvious example.

When I read a passage like this, only one visual comes to my mind.

51K2KP84KKL._SY445_.jpg

?

 

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5 hours ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

Oh my!

Larry's blackface could've used some help, but Larry's sassface is ON POINT.

"Thou art in danger, Gurl."

This picture of Olivier reminds me of the "bada s s" meme:

comment-reply-004-badass-over-here.jpg

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I will just say:
Even if it was "yellowface" for a Broadway actor to play a persnickety comedy-relief Korean out of an already-dated pulp-novel series...Joel Grey was ROBBED of a Best Supporting nomination for stealing Remo Williams: the Adventure Begins (1985).  ?

 

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How about mentioning some of these people who played American Indians?

Boris Karloff

Bela Lugosi

Wallace Beery

Ted de Corsia

Chuck Connors

Jeff Chandler

Gilbert Roland

Ricardo Montalban

Sal Mineo

Michael Pate

Anthony Quinn

Rita Gam

Debra Paget

And don't even get me started on some of the people who tried to play Italians.

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6 hours ago, jakeem said:

Well, people in blackface generally look ridiculous, whether it's a minstrel performer or Gene Wilder in "Silver Streak." But one of the things that makes Olivier's "Othello" must-see viewing is the story that the great actor studied the funky movements of his friend Sammy Davis, Jr. to prepare for the role.

Image result for laurence olivier "othello" gif

Oh, so that explains the love beads around Olivier's neck.

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One person that stunned me was Wini Shaw in "The Singing Kid" (1936).  Actually thought she was black but knew something was a little off about her at the time.  It's not the typical makeup.

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7 hours ago, Swithin said:

A Hungarian and an Austro-Hungarian playing sultry African ladies: Steffi Duna in Anthony Adverse; Hedy Lamarr in White Cargo.

 

MV5BODE1NTA2NTAtZGQyMS00Njk1LWE0MjktYjll

 

I can't tell in that B&W photo, looks like Hedy got a good tan. :huh:

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37 minutes ago, JakeHolman said:

 

 

What does that staircase dance have to do with blackface?? :huh:

Edited by hamradio
Grammar - has, have, whatever

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