Anna May Wong was the best known Chinese American actress during Hollywood’s golden age, a free spirit and embodiment of the flapper era much like Louise Brooks. She starred in over fifty movies between 1919 and 1960, sharing the screen with such luminaries as Douglas Fairbanks Sr. and Marlene Dietrich. Born in Los Angeles in 1905, Wong was the second daughter of six children born to a laundryman and his wife. Obsessed with film at a young age, she managed to secure a small part in a 1919 drama about the Boxer Rebellion. Her most famous film roles were in The Thief of Baghdad, Old San Francisco, and Shanghai Express opposite Dietrich. Despite these successes, instances of overt racism plagued Wong’s career. When it came time to make a film version of Pearl Buck’s The Good Earth, she was passed over for the German actress, Luise Rainer. In a narrative that recalls both the gritty life in Los Angeles’ working-class Chinese neighborhoods and the glamor of Hollywood at its peak, Graham Hodges recounts the life of this elegant, beautiful, and underappreciated screen legend.
|Publisher:||Hong Kong University Press|
|Product dimensions:||5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.70(d)|
|Age Range:||18 Years|
About the Author
Graham Russell Gao Hodges is the George Dorland Langdon, Jr. Professor of History and Africana Studies at Colgate University.
Table of Contents
Preface to Second Edition ix
List of Illustrations xxiii
1 Childhood 1
2 Seeking Stardom 27
3 Europe 65
4 Atlantic Crossings 99
5 China 141
6 In the Service of the Motherland 159
7 Becoming Chinese American 191
Television Appearances 223
Selected Bibliography 251
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Anna May Wong is a fascinating person.It would be nice if Gao Hodges didn't have her on such a pedastal, then *maybe* he could be a little more objective about his subject. Maybe he'd give her some depth and dimension. I bet she'd be even more fascinating then.There are several small factual inconsistencies and an uneven transliteration style (talking about Nanjing and Nanking in the same chapter.) There are also some glaring omissions, for instance he was describing a guest appearance on a television show and said that her bottom lip was still stiff from a near fatal stroke two years previous.This was THE ONLY MENTION of said stroke. You'd think something like that would at least warrant its own sentence!Dissapointing
I'm currently reading this biography and it's fascinating. I really appreciate the photographs of her and her family in the middle of the book, though I wish there was more. Anna May was such a novelty at the time being one of the only Chinese actresses in Hollywood during the earlier half of the twentieth century. I've never watched her films, but I first heard of her when I saw part of "Piccadilly", a silent film made in the 20s which I believe propelled her to stardom. It's mentioned in the biography as well. The book reflecting on Anna May's life is sort of bittersweet. Her desires and success in her career was confined by the social norms of the day and also by the cultural ambiguity of being Chinese American. Though Anna was from a completely time, I think she's still very relatable to the modern woman. I think it's a perfect book for someone who is interested in classic films and Asian American culture.
Forgot to say my name will be....ethier Shining Shadow or Anyone you want
Politically correct claptrap. As a scholar of African American history, Hodges sees every aspect of Anna May's life through the prism of racism, simultaneously ignoring her own success in spite thereof. Blaming racism for her horrendous choices of lovers is just plain nonsense. At the end, one wonders if there was actually anything interesting about Anna May Wong at all.