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series: Anna May Wong: In Her Own Words
air date: 5/06/13 10:00 PM
Anna May Wong knew she wanted to be a movie star from the time she was a young girl and, by 17, she became one. A third generation Chinese American, she went on to make dozens of films in Hollywood and Europe. She was one of the few actors to successfully transition from silent to sound cinema, co-starring with Marlene Dietrich, Anthony Quinn and Douglas Fairbanks along the way. She was glamorous, talented and cosmopolitan, yet she spent most of her career typecast either as a painted doll or a scheming dragon lady. For years, older generations of Chinese- Americans frowned upon the types of roles she played; but today a younger generation of Asian Americans sees her as a pioneering artist, who succeeded in a hostile environment that hasn't altogether changed. Yunah Hong's documentary is a survey of Wong's career, exploring the impact Wong had on images of Asian American women in Hollywood, both then and now. Excerpts from Wong's films, archival photographs and interviews enhance this picture of a woman and her extraordinary life.
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