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Old January 14 2014, 11:36 PM   #31
Tosk
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Re: The Shadow (1994)

Robbiesan wrote: View Post
Can you imagine an asian donning makeup to play a white or black character? You'd find it absurd, and as it removed those actors from the equation, meant an inability for them to find work and to represent the characters in an authentic manner.
Who is in yellowface in The Shadow?
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Old January 14 2014, 11:40 PM   #32
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Re: The Shadow (1994)

Tosk wrote: View Post
Robbiesan wrote: View Post
Can you imagine an asian donning makeup to play a white or black character? You'd find it absurd, and as it removed those actors from the equation, meant an inability for them to find work and to represent the characters in an authentic manner.
Who is in yellowface in The Shadow?
Yellowface is the most frequent way of depicting Fu Manchu characters in film. It usually is a white actor portraying the asian villian.
http://www.asianweek.com/top-25-yell...most-infamous/

In The Shadow, it's played by John Lone, a Chinese actor. It still recalls the worst problems of the Yellow Peril, besides making him speak ridiculously.One gathers only Asians have this persistant accent difficulty. Which is extremely odd as few in my family have anything close to that kind of accent.
http://ironbombs.wordpress.com/2012/...hearts-of-men/
"On the downside: the movie kept the old pulps’ “yellow peril” vibes in the form of bad, almost racist Asian stereotypes. Gah."
http://www.notcoming.com/reviews/theshadow/
"One of the film’s brightest spots is Hong Kong-born actor John Lone, who plays the film’s Big Bad Shiwan Kahn, a descendant of Genghis Kahn who possesses the same powers as The Shadow and is (of course) bent on world domination. Shiwan Kahn could easily be nothing more than a depressing Yellow Peril stereotype, but Lone makes the absolute most of the role, bringing wry humor and considerable charm to what could have been a thankless part."
http://www.csmonitor.com/1994/0730/01131.html
"While one might excuse the appearance of this ``yellow peril'' villain in a pulp-fiction commodity half-a-century old, it seems odd that a present-day Hollywood studio would produce a racially charged story that pits its handsome white hero against a horde of monstrous ``Mongol warriors.'' There's nothing subtle about this attempt to exploit racial stereotypes in the guise of old-fashioned fun."

http://www.weirdwildrealm.com/f-batmanbegins.html
"Not only is did the movie Shadow train in Asia, but his Yellow Peril arch enemy dresses up like a medieval Chinese knight. John Lone is an interesting actor but he was totally laughable as the last Khan, a mini-supervillain in a totally stupid mini-supervillain suit. And giving him a prefrontal lobotomy at the end was not funny, not justice, not interesting."

It is by no means only my opinion, but the opinion of many critics that The Shadow features this best forgotten anachronistic villian type.

Last edited by Robbiesan; January 14 2014 at 11:51 PM.
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Old January 15 2014, 12:17 AM   #33
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Re: The Shadow (1994)

THE SHADOW is just trying to be excellent popcorn fare and it succeeds at it, wildly. It's not perfect, by any means, but it's almost a tribute, in a sense, to The Golden Age of Hollywood. That style is all up in it and it's an incredibly charming and enjoyable picture, as a result. I think what I like most about The Shadow is that he's not locking himself in a big dungeon and reliving a childhood tragedy, whenever he isn't out stopping crime. He's a Playboy ... a Lady's Man. What a refreshing change of pace, even in these times, after all of the BatMan and SpiderMan flicks. This is a Superhero who isn't afraid to enjoy the finer things in life.
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Old January 15 2014, 12:32 AM   #34
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Re: The Shadow (1994)

The Shadow is proto-Batman. It has to viewed through that lens. It's not that the idea of the Shadow is bad, it's that the pulps of the day, and later radio, used one-dimensional derogatory villians.

Stylistically it's an homage to that period. It is by no means a good movie, but mildly entertaining. I don't know of any film critics who have it on their must see list. As a cinema fan, watching films like this, as well as older material from which it was derived, makes you a better film afficianado.

I think you'll find my posts most often discuss cinema from that background. Some films stand alone, but usually when they did original things and so became masterpieces.

See it only if you have nothing better to do. Or if you wish to see the history of film.
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Old January 15 2014, 12:36 AM   #35
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Re: The Shadow (1994)

Excellent post, Robbiesan! A very good read, sir ... thoughtful, in fact.
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Old January 15 2014, 02:06 AM   #36
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Re: The Shadow (1994)

Another one who thinks of it as a favourite film. Mulcahy is very hit & miss with his films, and this wasn't bad. The script needed an extra pass, maybe two - the story was a bit schizophrenic as it tried to shoehorn many things in. Baldwin was an excellent choice, conveying real menace. The female lead I could take or leave, she didn't spark that much with me as I remembe rit (must watch it again soon). The music is fantastic, better movie theme than Batman.
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Old January 15 2014, 02:20 AM   #37
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Re: The Shadow (1994)

What The Shadow's writers should have done, is modernize the story in the manner of The Saint.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simon_Templar

That was a far better film.



Indiana Jones had pretty much covered earlier action heroes from serialized pulps.
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Old January 15 2014, 02:45 AM   #38
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Re: The Shadow (1994)

Niether the Saint movies nor the TV series were period pieces they were set in the time the movies and TV series were set in. Modernizing The Shadow really wouldn't work, The Shadow's real name was Kent Allard who actaully got his powers from a South American tribe, Lamont Cranston was one of his many aliases.

The movie had to straddle the line between the pulp fiction books and the radio show. And Shiwan Khan lasted for four books from what I understand. Sam Raimi was going to make a new movie but as of 2012 they didn't have a script yet. There's a certain novelity to setting the movie in '30s, just there'd be for making a Doc Savage movie in that time period, setting it in modern times wouldn't as extraordinary in my mind. the modern Sherlock series have the same problem in my mind, in his own Sherlock is original and special, now there's people who grow up wanting to be detectives.
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Old January 15 2014, 03:10 AM   #39
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Re: The Shadow (1994)

Then again, both Sherlock and Elementary are very good and unique takes on the original character.

I do think any new big movie version of the character would have to loose the whole large nose thing, for much the same reason Superman lost the trunks. It just looks silly.
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Old January 15 2014, 03:51 AM   #40
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Re: The Shadow (1994)

Robbiesan wrote: View Post
Yellowface is the most frequent way of depicting Fu Manchu characters in film. It usually is a white actor portraying the asian villian.

In The Shadow, it's played by John Lone, a Chinese actor.
How can a Chinese actor playing an asian character be yellowface? I grant you that he is playing a stereotypical "evil asian" in the film, but he is playing a Mongolian in the 1930s...why would you expect the character to have perfect english diction? John Lone's own true accent still conforms to what people would normally consider "asian with english as a second language". (And at what point is "the evil asian" thing not a problem? Is any asian character who dresses, speaks, or presents themselves with any asian influence a yellow peril character by default? What about, say...the businessmen in Rising Sun? This is just an aside, I'm not arguing that Shiwan is presented in this way.)

One gathers only Asians have this persistant accent difficulty. Which is extremely odd as few in my family have anything close to that kind of accent.
A friend of mine doesn't have that kind of accent either, but his brother does.

It is by no means only my opinion, but the opinion of many critics that The Shadow features this best forgotten anachronistic villian type.
I'm sure there were just as many (if not more) critics who never even mentioned it. But I'm assuming they would be discounted due to their perceived ignorance.

And I realize it might seem to some that I am somehow defending or advocating racism. I'm not. I only jumped on the 'yellowface' thing due to not recalling any actors wearing yellowface in The Shadow. If I am ignorant on any point, please take it as a willingness to be set straight, not willful ignorance.


Robbiesan wrote: View Post
Indiana Jones had pretty much covered earlier action heroes from serialized pulps.
Is Mola Ram not as much of a yellow peril character as Shiwan Khan?
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Old January 15 2014, 04:07 AM   #41
Robbiesan
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Re: The Shadow (1994)

How can a Chinese actor playing an asian character be yellowface? I grant you that he is playing a stereotypical "evil asian" in the film, but he is playing a Mongolian in the 1930s...why would you expect the character to have perfect english diction? John Lone's own true accent still conforms to what people would normally consider "asian with english as a second language". (And at what point is "the evil asian" thing not a problem? Is any asian character who dresses, speaks, or presents themselves with any asian influence a yellow peril character by default? What about, say...the businessmen in Rising Sun? This is just an aside, I'm not arguing that Shiwan is presented in this way.)

A friend of mine doesn't have that kind of accent either, but his brother does.

I'm sure there were just as many (if not more) critics who never even mentioned it. But I'm assuming they would be discounted due to their perceived ignorance.

And I realize it might seem to some that I am somehow defending or advocating racism. I'm not. I only jumped on the 'yellowface' thing due to not recalling any actors wearing yellowface in The Shadow. If I am ignorant on any point, please take it as a willingness to be set straight, not willful ignorance.

Is Mola Ram not as much of a yellow peril character as Shiwan Khan?
See post 7 in which I said "Another dangerous Asian taking over Western Civilization. How pathetic. At least they didn't use yellowface this time. " (underlined it for you)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portray...s_in_Hollywood"

A lot of characters in science fiction and fantasy films are derived from yellow peril models. If you go back, and read the link I provided, there are lots of examples.

I have no idea who Mola Ram is, nor do I wish to have a discussion about Indiana Jones.

There is a long irritating and persistant history of demeaning and dehumanizing Asians in film. Most Asians simply stop talking about it, because it seems hopeless and a waste of time to try to explain this ad nauseum. But when someone gushes about some aspect of a film in which the same old patterns emerge, then it becomes more compeling to try one more time to explain it.

So if one Asian has an accent, then it's fine to sterotype Asians with accents regardless if they're 4th generation (or more!) past the point of being new immigrants to America. That kind of thinking just makes me want to beat my head against a wall. Shall we have movies in which Italians continue to speak as their ancestors did way back when? The Irish? The Germans? Come on.

Honestly, the Shadow while an important cultural figure in the 30's is relatively unknown today. That makes creating a new film about that character a real challenge.

Heck making a Star Trek film is challenging given the last time it was on television as a new series.

You do realize that most of the people who actually heard the Shadow on radio are elderly. How many people actually have seen a film in which that character was featured?

And this isn't isolated to the Shadow. For example, for years directors have tried to make a HP Lovecraft film that was seriously supported by the studios. Today, his method of writing is very much a niche audience, and stained by his historical bigotry about immigrants. All of that makes it nigh impossible to get a film made.

Last edited by Neroon; January 15 2014 at 04:58 AM. Reason: corrected tags to clarify attribution in the posts
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Old January 15 2014, 04:24 AM   #42
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Re: The Shadow (1994)

Robbiesan wrote: View Post
I have no idea who Mola Ram is, nor do I wish to have a discussion about Indiana Jones.
I only brought him up because you mentioned Indy. If you don't want to discuss something, maybe don't bring it up in the first place?

So if one Asian has an accent, then it's fine to sterotype Asians with accents regardless if they're 4th generation (or more!) past the point of being new immigrants to America.
I see Asian characters on TV and in film all the time who do not have that kind of accent.

You do realize that most of the people who actually heard the Shadow on radio are elderly.
I do realize that. But I have no idea why you're asking me that or what relevance it has.
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Old January 15 2014, 04:48 AM   #43
Gov Kodos
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Re: The Shadow (1994)

Tosk wrote: View Post
Robbiesan wrote: View Post
I have no idea who Mola Ram is, nor do I wish to have a discussion about Indiana Jones.
I only brought him up because you mentioned Indy. If you don't want to discuss something, maybe don't bring it up in the first place?

So if one Asian has an accent, then it's fine to sterotype Asians with accents regardless if they're 4th generation (or more!) past the point of being new immigrants to America.
I see Asian characters on TV and in film all the time who do not have that kind of accent.

You do realize that most of the people who actually heard the Shadow on radio are elderly.
I do realize that. But I have no idea why you're asking me that or what relevance it has.
Sab Shimono who played Dr. Roy Tam didn't have an Asian accent. He was one of the good guys, too. Racist and Yellow Peril mongering? No, don't see it. The villain in the movie is just someone from Asia.
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Old January 15 2014, 04:55 AM   #44
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Re: The Shadow (1994)

robbiesan, I understand that this is clearly an important topic to you. However, let's please try to keep the content under control and not get too sensational or excited.
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Old January 15 2014, 04:59 AM   #45
Robbiesan
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Re: The Shadow (1994)

The only reason I brought up Indiana Jones is that the rationale for making that film was to do homage to an earlier time of serials and adventurers. Other than that, it has little to do with The Shadow. There were certainly bizarre asian stereotypes on the former but it's immaterial to a discussion of the Shadow.

If films are made to please a niche audience, then to be a commercial success there has to be sufficient critical mass to pay for the film costs and make a reasonable profit. Who would that be regarding The Shadow? I'm not sure there was a market for it in 1994, and in 2014 you're really scraping the bottom of the barrel to find any living people who heard it on radio. They'd be in their late seventies and early eighties.

I intentionally pulled several critic responses to the Shadow and demonstrated over and over that term of yellow peril. It's a well known term to any film buff and to anyone who's taken history classes as well as literature even in the undergraduate level. It's a matter of record and it's hard to say that element is not in many Hollywood productions. The evidence is overwhelming.
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