Photo of the Month #1
There never was a more glamourous Asian movie star than Anna May Wong. In an age when many ethnic roles were played by actors in "yellowface" or "blackface" Anna May Wong was a rare bird and a standout. She began in bit parts before starring in the 1922 technicolor film Toll of the Sea directed by Chester Franklin (brother of Sidney). A delicate retelling of Madam Butterfly except now in China rather than Japan. Her portrayal of the young girl Lotus Flower is still very moving today and the early Technicolor process is spectacular.
She was not the first great Asian star, in that she followed in the footsteps of Japan's Sessue Hayakawa. She was, however, just as much of a pioneer. She was classically beautiful as the stunning Nikolas Murray study above shows.
There is a beautiful documentary entitled Frosted Yellow Willows which will be available on DVD in a limited edition. If you are attending the San Francisco Silent Film Festival, producer Elaine Mae Woo will be on hand to sign copies.