Jump to content
 
Search In
  • More options...
Find results that contain...
Find results in...

Miscegenation in Hollywood


skimpole
 Share

Recommended Posts

>The World of Suzie Wong, 1960, is a beautiful love story set Hong Kong between a Caucasian American (William Holden) and a Chinese prostitute (Nancy Kwan).

 

Only in Hollywood could a prostitute find love and it be a celebrated movie event. Personally, I never found PRETTY WOMAN to be very realistic.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

> {quote:title=Sprocket_Man wrote:}{quote}*...WE HAVE MET THE REAL SAVAGE, AND HE IS US.*

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

> >

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

> This brings up an important point: at the time the films in question were made, they were exactly that -- films about miscegenation, an act and topic about which American society was profoundly uneasy, if not downright antagonistic......[Talking about THE SEARCHERS]... They knew one when they saw it, without having to be told that's what it was, though viewers today may need to be reminded.

>

>

> Looked at from the perspective of what we at least like to think of as a mult-cultural society (though one merely has to look at all the Republican and Tea Party race-baiting disguised as mere political "disagreement" directed toward President Obama to know that true multi-culturalism is still a long, long way off), the term "miscegenation" seems quaint and unnecessary, but the film, and current events, show it to be as relevant now as it ever was.

>

While avoiding political discussion(as this is a classic movie forum), you bring up an interesting point as well regarding its relevantcy. There are plenty of classic movies that are all about preserving the status quo regarding race relations , i.e. 1934's Imitation Of Life , Gone With The Wind, The Song of the South as there are plenty of classic movies that seek to challenge those notions, however subtle and direct as well, i.e. 1959's Imitation Of Life, Pinky, No Way Out, and you mention The Searchers (a movie I still have to see). I believe the matter is simply discussing these film's legacies in the modern context, and why these films remain relevant amidst their age. So, the question to ask is, as much as we are sharing our knowledge of interracial romance in film, what effect does the films mentioned on this thread have on the viewer and what do modern films that touch base with similar themes and may produce similar effects have on the viewer?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

While I do understand your reasoning for using the term, and I do respect the use of that word in historical context of which this discussion is based on, it still goes back to the question of why are we using that term when we mean love between people of two different races?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

>While I do understand your reasoning for using the term, and I do respect the use of that word in historical context of which this discussion is based on, it still goes back to the question of why are we using that term when we mean love between people of two different races?

 

Because this is an old classic movie message board, and that's the term they used in old classic movies.

 

If you go on a modern-movie message board or a modern political message board, you might want to use a more modern term, but here we pride ourselves with knowing all the old terms and slang. Such as "get wise to yourself". :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for the tip about "The Circus".

I instantly watched it and was totally amazed at the clear message about race.

Was it distributed in the US at all?

Considering it was made so soon after the heyday of the Red Scare, the fact that it was so clearly Soviet propaganda was pretty striking.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I saw "Japanese War Bride" in 1952, and I thought it was a pretty good film. An American guy marries a Japanese girl in Korea and brings her back to Salinas California, and some of his friends can't stand it. Especially the mean Marie Windsor.

 

I've love to see this film on TCM.

 

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0044764/

 

MPW-33005

Link to comment
Share on other sites

> {quote:title=tapit wrote:}{quote}Thanks for the tip about "The Circus".

> I instantly watched it and was totally amazed at the clear message about race.

> Was it distributed in the US at all?

 

It seems unlikely it would have been seen in America until recently. This is reinforced as there is no American distributor listed for it in the IMDB listing for the movie until 2011.

 

Almost all movies of the era were required to have a strong patriotic theme even when they were not outright propaganda. This was true in many countries of that era. I believe it is remarkable that so many fine, funny and touching movies were made which transcended such restrictions. In the case of this movie it speaks to basic humanity and tolerance. The only patriotic aspect to it is that she found intolerance in America and she found acceptance in another country.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

>...you bring up an interesting point as well regarding its relevancy. There are plenty of classic movies that are all about preserving the status quo regarding race relations , i.e. 1934's Imitation Of Life , Gone With The Wind, The Song of the South as there are plenty of classic movies that seek to challenge those notions, however subtle and direct as well, i.e. 1959's Imitation Of Life, Pinky, No Way Out, and you mention The Searchers (a movie I still have to see).

 

It's not just race relations and racism; what this highlights is a tactic those determined to preserve the status quo (which today is centered on economic inequality) frequently, if not almost always, employ to distract the public from their real goal. In the 1920s and again in the '40s and '50s it was the fear of Communism they exploited to distract the American people from the inexorable movement toward integration and educational opportunity; today it's fear of immigrants, legal and otherwise, and Islam, attempting to link both to the specter of terrorism.

 

It's an insidious tactic, largely based on bald-faced lies, that not only clears a path for the liars' real purpose (today unfettered and unregulated actions by big business; corporate "personhood" with its freedom to contribute unlimited funds to political campaigns; and undeserved tax breaks for the wealthy, among other destructive things), but also tars entire classes of people with malevolent intent and actions they did not commit, or even contemplate.

 

There is no one so evil and worthy of contempt as him who would undermine systems of protection for the powerless for their own profit.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

{font:Arial}In reference to this subject, I’ve noticed over the years that not much attention is given to the story or the two filmed versions of “Bird of Paradise.” Based on a stage play by Richard Walton Tully, when first produced created a lot of controversy, specially a charge against Tully to emerge that he had stolen the idea from another writer. Despite the legal wrangling that surrounded the stage production, it was on all counts a success and became a popular romantic drama, resulting in a series of productions that toured the country. The strange thing about the play was that its subject matter didn’t seem to be riddled with issues of miscegenation, probably due to the whole aura of a {font}{font:Arial}South Seas{font}{font:Arial} adventure and Caucasians performing the lead roles. Tully’s play also appeared within the same early decade of the 20th Century that introduced Giacomo Puccini’s famous, tragic romantic opera “Madama Butterfly.” Both productions openly dealt with miscegenation, but with heartbreaking results. It seems there was no happy ending being characteristically offered to the subject of a love affair between people of two different races.{font}

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

{font:Arial}1932 comes and movie producer David O. Selznick decides to create a hugely budgeted motion picture of Tully’s story. Starring Dolores Del Rio and Joel McCrea as the doomed lovers, the film, like the play, caused a sensation, especially when lovely Del Rio had what for some is believed to be the first completely nude swimming scene of the early “talking-pictures” era; this was just before the motion picture code came into existence. Directed by the skillful King Vidor, the movie’s splendid production values overshadowed any hostility towards the miscegenation issue. Of course, {font}{font:Arial}Del Rio{font}{font:Arial} and just how beautiful she looked, not really appearing so Polynesian, if not, Micronesian gave the movie a rather mild atmosphere of acceptability. Audiences lined up across the country to see the movie! Selznick brought in a huge hit for RKO Pictures. He would even end up the following year using the same sets from “Bird of Paradise,” for the classic “King Kong.” Sometimes I feel, even “King Kong” might be associated to this subject . . . Or, might this idea be little too “over the top?”{font}

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

{font:Arial}Anyway, in 1951 came a rather refurbished version of the story, this time starring Louis Jordan and the gorgeous Debra Paget as the island native girl. In support was wonderful Jeff Chandler as the island native prince, giving the best dramatic performance of the movie. This character as played by {font}{font:Arial}Chandler{font}{font:Arial} was an inserted new one to the story and did change the overall connection to the first filmed version. What would make this 1951 version appealing was the exquisite Technicolor photography that turned out to be the real star of the film! Written and directed by Delmer Daves for 20th Century-Fox, the movie was technically impressive, yet a bit tamed and subtle with its subject matter. Director/writer Daves did give some romantic passion to the script. But, like {font}{font:Arial}Del Rio{font}{font:Arial} in the first version, Paget isn’t at all so convincing to say she is understandably a native girl. Although, Paget’s skin was slightly tanned, she looked more like a contemporary Caucasian girl at the beach, dressed in a full length sarong, showing little of anything underneath; fourteen years earlier, beloved actress Dorothy Lamour showed more of herself in the sarong she wore for the 1937, John Ford classic, "The Hurricane" that would make her world famous! The visual, Pacific island culture situation for Paget in the 1951 version is probably more of a symbolic figure than a factual one. Naturally, this movie (like the first version) was a Hollywood studio production that had no choice but to deal with a certain amount of fabrication, associated to a restraint in its handling of what was obviously a miscegenation story or romance. The movie's presentation was mainly mild in its posture. In the end, the 1951 version was a tremendous tearjerker with movie audiences. Although the film received mixed reviews, it was a moderate success.{font}

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

{font:Arial}I sort of like the 1951 version, due to the temperament of the main characters that express their passion to each other by a clever means of skillful romantic dialog. Director Daves also incorporates some wonderful close-ups of the two lovers, expressively saying more than anything so physical. Louis Jordan and Debra Paget are adequately matched on screen, but in watching the movie, one has to accept a distinctive limitation to the style of the motion picture that won’t go beyond a method of symbolic elements of the heated desire between the two lovers. It would be understandable that by today’s standards all of this is too corny to ponder. Nevertheless, the film did stretch itself as far as it could go. Perhaps the most radical element of the film, especially for the time period of the film’s release was the native island girl telling the white man, in her culture girls have a man’s baby first, before getting married to prove they are worthy! This was something that most likely made a few heads turn, during that laid-back, conservative time in American culture. Even though both film versions of “Bird of Paradise” will remain mostly forgotten by film buffs and critics, there was something of a humane element to the whole idea that began way back in 1912, when the Tully play first appeared and perhaps a change in social acceptance was on its way.{font}

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

That does sound interesting, and I am planning on seeing that movie soon. The Pre-Code one with Dolores Del Rio and Joel McCrea. On the Classic Film Union, my friend wewink brought up an interesting fact- the major movie musicals of that time like South Pacific and The King and I to name a few, brought up with and dealt with racism in their plots.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

>1932 comes and movie producer David O. Selznick decides to create a hugely budgeted motion picture of Tully?s story. Starring Dolores Del Rio and Joel McCrea as the doomed lovers,

 

Weren't there other pre-1932 South Seas movies with island dames and white guys? Seems to me this type of mix was not considered to be bad miscegenation.

 

"White Shadows in the South Seas", 1928. A popular Miscegenation movie.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e5yp7M7IqKk&feature=related

 

Oh, and Professor, by the way, compare the "saving of the small boy" scene to the one in Treasure of the Sierra Madre. Very similar, even including the mirror. This one came first.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

> {quote:title=Fred you ask:}{quote}

> > Weren't there other pre-1932 South Seas movies with island dames and white guys? Seems to me this type of mix was not considered to be bad miscegenation.

Actually, this is correct. There were already several silent films produced about a South

Seas romance or conflicts of culture.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

{font:Arial}What can I add or say about the immortal Robert Flaherty? Well, his association with “White Shadows of The South Seas,” as having become one of the most celebrated documentary filmmakers of his time was important. However, the film isn’t really what some fans might feel is a docudrama, because MGM added the romantic storyline as directed by W. S. Van Dyke. This was on all counts, considered a joint effort by one standard studio director, as opposed to a documentary one. Naturally, Flaherty photographed most of the long-shots and island life of montages and backgrounds, while Van Dyke handled the dramatic romantic elements between the two main characters. I think it’s safe to say that the novel of which the movie was based upon was in some ways influenced by “Bird of Paradise.” The novelist of the story Frederick O’Brien was a good friend of filmmaker Robert Flaherty. Both had already produced a “{font}{font:Arial}South Seas{font}{font:Arial}” documentary in {font}{font:Arial}Samoa{font}{font:Arial}, entitled “Moana.” This film had been sanctioned by Paramount Pictures in 1926 and had moderate success. As the Paramount project commenced, Flaherty found the island natives as not being so interesting or having any conflictual viewpoints as to their way of life. It was then decided the only thing to film was a native ritual of a boy’s passage into manhood. Writer O’Brien had lived for a long time in the South Pacific, thus leading to his being considered an authority on the island region. Perhaps the most famous of all situations that resulted from the release of “Moana” and other films of its type was the term “documentary” finally becoming the defining titled or factor to the film genre! {font}

 

 

 

{font:Arial}Many critics and those in {font}{font:Arial}Hollywood{font}{font:Arial} at the time that “Moana” was released believed that Flaherty just might break into mainstream, commercial filmmaking. However, Flaherty could have never stayed fixed or trapped into this area of motion picture production in {font}{font:Arial}Hollywood{font}{font:Arial}. Wisely, he remained out of this framework of the major studio system and chose to roam about the world, filming cultures of interest. By the late 1920’s, Flaherty was probably the most famous documentary filmmaker of the western hemisphere, with his greatest rival being Scottish John Grierson, who by that time had become the biggest of all advocate of documentary filmmaking. It wouldn’t be until the arrival and international success of Eisentein’s film “The Battleship Potemkin” that the docudrama finally came into its own and thus led to Hollywood and the studio system, having a bit of curiosity towards this new genre that historically had a tremendous amount of propaganda and an ability to create visual interpretations of societies across the globe. In a technically marketing sense, Hollywood could have never really been so prone to dwell heavily into the docudrama field and for the most part, would remain dominate outside of America. The coming of the “Depression” gave a slight change of consideration towards the documentary. Especially, when the U.S. Government invested in scores of documentaries, funded by the NRA, thus creating some of the finest film works of the genre that are today considered classics and a visual historical record of the era.

{font}{font:Arial}

 

 

 

You make an interesting and valid comparison concerning the scene of the drowned boy in “The Shadows of The South Seas,” and that of the one in “The Treasure of Sierra Madre.” The basic point to this scene is that the use of a mirror to check for breathing was a common occurrence. So, it wouldn’t be so unusual for the movie audiences at the time of the film’s release. Nor, did director John Huston, who himself was a real adventurer, have copied the scene for “Sierra Madre.” What would be fascinating, if it could be done is to research just how many films might have utilized this method of saving a drowned person. As usual Fred, you’re “The King” on this web site, when it comes to imaginable, stimulating subject matter about the movies! Keep up the great work!{font}

Link to comment
Share on other sites

{font:Times New Roman} {font}{font:Times New Roman}

 

{font:}I just found this thread and must tell kingrat to see *One Potato, Two Potato* any way you can. I don’t know if it was based on a real story but 20 years later in Texas there was a similar case that unbelievably ended the same way. I remember being so steamed watching the movie and reminding myself that’s what it was. {font}

 

 

{font:} {font}*{font:}Sayonara{font}*{font:} is a favorite film of mine and I knew a couple like Lloyd and Miko back in the 70’s. They had a very happy marriage and beautiful children. It’s what’s inside, folks.{font}

 

 

{font:} {font}{font:}I’ve asked before if *White Feather* was really based on truth as claimed as in the end the couple’s son ends up at West Point. If so, it’s really inspiring.{font}

 

 

{font:} {font}{font:}Despite his changing political views, Charlton Heston was always proud of the interracial storyline in *The Omega Man *and his part in it. {font}

 

 

{font:}The line from *Bird of Paradise* about birth before marriage is something I read in my college anthropology and sociology classes so there’s truth to it. Some cultures’ moral codes just don’t match ours. At least these couples marry which is more than a lot of “baby mommies and daddies” are doing in our society.{font}

 

 

{font:} {font}{font:}The **** says I’m supposed to be upset by all this but I got past that long ago and am proud to say very easily. If the yellow and grey tabby cats in the courtyard downstairs can get along why can’t we humans? Or does the right species have dominion over the universe? {font}

 

{font}

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I do remember TCM shown One Potato,Two Potato a year or two back. I like to know if The Circus,All Night Long,and Island In The Sun would be on TCM? In most major Hollywood movies the White male dates or marries any female of a difererent ethnic or racial catagory. The Black male however you can list a few films.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

© 2022 Turner Classic Movies Inc. All Rights Reserved Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Cookie Settings
×
×
  • Create New...