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Lurking in the Shadows: Toshia Mori and Lotus Long, Exploring Their Enigmatic Careers (Part II)

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Abstract:

Toshia Mori and Lotus Long barely register with today’s cinĂ©philes, unless they happen to be aficionados of some the more obscure films of the 1930s. These two Asian-American actors worked mainly in low-budget productions, often consigned to sundry China doll and native-girl parts. Given the ideological milieu and casting constraints of a predominately Euro-American system, hopes for better parts and the possibility of achieving stardom were repeatedly frustrated and denied. Their experiences in Hollywood reflected the paradox between representing Asian sexual stereotypes on the screen and economic survival in a competitive industry notorious for its chronic unemployment. Despite their appearances in a couple of milestone classics, film historians have unfairly neglected the achievements of these two early Asian players. This two-installment discussion on Toshia Mori and Lotus Long will separately chronicle and critique their respective careers in the Hollywood studio system. In addition to examining their films and roles, a perusal of their neglected peers/male co-stars, B-filmmaking culture, and the system’s representational-casting practices will attempt to reconstruct and contextualize some of the fragments of their careers.

Keywords: 'lost-players'; Euro-American system; Hollywood; Lotus Long; Toshia Mori

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1386/ac.15.2.51.1

Publication date: September 1, 2004

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  • Asian Cinema is a seminal journal, which has been published since 1995 by the Asian Cinema Studies Society under the stewardship of Professor John Lent. From 2012 Asian Cinema will be published by Intellect as part of our Film Studies journal portfolio. The journal currently publishes a variety of scholarly material - including research articles, interviews, book and film reviews and bibliographies - on all forms and aspects of Asian cinema. The journal's broad aim is to advance understanding and knowledge of the rich traditions of the various Asian cinemas, thereby making an invaluable contribution to the field of Film Studies in general.
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