Asian-American Cinema Part V - The 1960s

Posted by Eric Brightwell, May 24, 2009 04:58pm | Post a Comment
 The fifth of a nine part series on Asian-Americans in front of and behind the camera

The 1960s also the growth of minority-minded civil rights like AIM, the Black Panthersthe Brown Beretsand the Yellow Brotherhood. With Asian-themed musicals no longer in vogue, Asian actors struggled to find work in the entertainment industry. As a result, Asian theatre blossomed, beginning in earnest with Los Angeles' East West Players in 1965 and followed by San Francisco’s Asian American Theatre Workshop, New York’s Oriental Actors of America and Pan Asian Repertory Theatre, and Seattle’sTheatrical Ensemble

The theater groups performed Asian-created works by the likes of Edward Sakamoto, Frank Chin, Hiroshi Kashiwagi,  Momoko Iko and Wakako Yamauchi.

On TV, Asian American actors continued to be nearly non-existent with Green Hornet, Hawaii Five-O, Hong Kong, I Spy and Star Trek being exceptions. 

In film, the fetishization of Asian women continued. More shocking was the way films like Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Thoroughly Modern Millie still represented Asian men in the most hateful ways.


               Bill M. Rusaki                                                Brian Tochi                                                Chao Li Ch 

                   Gina Alajar                            Harold Sakata                                                     Irene Tsu 

                      Jack Soo                              Joanne Miya                                                John Fujioka 

             June Kyoto Lu                                            Kieu Chinh                                                    Lloyd Kino 

                  Lynne Sue Moon                                  Miko Mayama                                                Nancy Kwan                                  
                        Pat Morita                                                              Soon-Tek Oh

Not pictured: Alicia Li, Arthur Song, Brian Fong, Hans William Lee, James Shen, Lee Kolima, Linda Ho, Marc Marno, Reiko Sato, Tiko Ling, Tina Chen, Tsuruko Kobayashi, Willard Lee and Yoshio Yoda 


Asian American Related Films of the 1960s:

Hell to Eternity, The Mountain Road, The Wackiest Ship in the Army, Walk Like a Dragon, The World of Suzie Wong (all 1960), Bridge to the SunCry For Happy, Flower Drum SongOperation Bottleneck, Seven Women from Hell, Visa to Canton (all 1961), A Girl Named Tamiko, Confessions of an Opium Eater, Girls! Girls! Girls!, The Horizontal Lieutenant,The Road to Hong Kong, Satan Never SleepsWomanhunt (all 1962), Diamond Head, Donovan's Feef, TamahineThe Ugly American (all 1963), Man in the Middle (1964), Dimenson 5, Paradise, Hawaiian style, 7 Women, Walk Don't Run (all 1966), The Final War of Olly Winter, Kill a Dragon, The Mystery of the Chinese Junk, The Sweet and the Bitter,Thoroughly Modern Millie (all 1967), The Green Berets, Nobody's Perfect (both 1968) and The Wrecking Crew (1969)
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