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Screenplays portraying Asian and Asian American characters

 Collection
Identifier: MS-0778
This collection consists of film scripts that closely follow the depiction of Asian characters in Hollywood film history. It includes drafts, revisions, and final shooting scripts of film screenplays dating from 1929-2003. The scripts illustrate portrayals of Asians by Caucasian actors, as well as Asian American actors.

Dates

  • 1929-2003

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is housed off-site and requires 48-hours' notice for retrieval. Contact Special Collections for more information.

Collection is open for use.

Conditions Governing Use

Single copies may be made for research purposes. Researchers are responsible for determining any copyright questions. It is not necessary to seek our permission as the owner of the physical work to publish or otherwise use public domain materials that we have made available for use, unless Johns Hopkins University holds the copyright.

Extent

15.99 cubic feet Cubic Feet (12 record center boxes, 2 legal size document boxes )

Biographical / Historical

This collection consists of film scripts that closely follow the depiction of Asian characters in Hollywood film history. Early themes include the portrayal of Asians as villains connected to drug culture, prostitution, or as servants and buffoons. This image was exacerbated more so during World War II, when Hollywood films served as war propaganda against the Japanese. In the post-war decades, the depiction of Asians in some films began to improve, but not at a rapid rate. White actors frequently donned “yellowface” to portray Asian characters, a practice that furthered ethnocentric perceptions of Asian culture and encouraged racist stereotypes. More recently, Hollywood films have explored an active interest and fascination in Asian culture, particularly in the martial arts. Films of this nature are excellent examples of the exoticism Hollywood films have assigned towards Asian cultural practices. This collection of film scripts reflects the changing perceptions Americans had towards Asian people throughout the 20th century, as well the impact those people have had on Hollywood film history.

Scope and Contents

This artificially-assembled collection includes drafts, revisions, and final shooting scripts of film screenplays dating from 1929-2003. The scripts illustrate portrayals of Asians by white actors, as well as Asian American actors. Such notable actors include Anna May Wong, the first Asian-American actress to become a Hollywood star, as well as Keye Luke, Bruce Lee, and Jackie Chan. The scripts in this collection include little-known, unproduced films such as Beast of the East, as well as high-profile productions such as Limehouse Blues, The Good Earth, Karate Kid Part III, and Sixteen Candles.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchased from George Robert Minkoff Rare Books, November, 2016.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Mallory Herberger in April 2017. Descriptions were derived and rewritten from the dealer-provided inventory.

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

Contact:
The Sheridan Libraries
Special Collections
3400 N Charles St
Baltimore MD 21218 USA