Lately I've been thinking about Anna May Wong, the first Chinese-American actress to take Hollywood by storm, even though she was relegated to roles playing the stereotypical inscrutable dragon lady or the long-suffering mistress of some white guy. Her characters always met some sordid, unfortunate end, prompting her to joke that she had already "died a thousand deaths". Anna was a tall California beauty who managed to fill her claustrophobic roles to the brim with her charisma and elegance. The first film I saw with her in it was Piccadilly, a 1929 silent film where she wore a sailor striped shirt to perfection and danced on a table with nonchalant sensuality. Then I saw her in Shanghai Express with Marlene Dietrich, where she made me fall completely in love with one line:
So I thought I'd share some of my favorite images of her here, before I run off to Hong Kong tomorrow. Enjoy!