Chinese playing Americans in Chinese movies

Sunday, November 06, 2011

In the old-timey days Hollywood used to use western actors to portray orientals. Chinese films of the same era used Asian actors in makeup to portray big nosed, round eyed, Yankee barbarians. The Asia Obscura post Prosthetic Noses, Red Wigs, and Whiteface… American Characters in Chinese Films gives a number of examples of these characters, with pictures and entertaining comments about the films and the Americans they portray.

A sample comment about one of the films:
This is The Boss. His hair and eyebrows are dyed red, his shnoz peaks two inches long, and his pistol will crush any Chinaman who dares question his ways.  He may resemble a British lord out for a hunt, but this murderous foreign devil commands the “President Wilson” ship — he’s a Yank, for sure. And since it’s a Cultural Revolution ballet, he doesn’t just whip and shoot — he dances, too.