On Location, Travel, and the Cinematic Geography of U.S. Orientalism
Publication Year: 2010
Published by: University of Michigan Press
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Introduction: On Location and the Production of Place
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The Good Earth (Sidney Franklin, 1937) opens with an onscreen preface that frames the film as representing the essence of China: “The soul of a great nation is expressed in the life of its humblest people. In this simple story of a Chinese farmer may be found something of the soul of China—its humility, its courage, its deep heritage from the past and its vast promise for the future.” This representation was reinforced by texts...
CHAPTER ONE. "To travel is to possess the world": The Illustrated Travel Lectures of E. Burton Holmes
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The illustrated travel lecturer Elias Burton Holmes began his 1953 autobiography The World Is Mine with his motto, “To travel is to possess the world.” He intended the phrase metaphorically: “I know that through travel I have possessed the world more completely, more satisfyingly than if I had acquired the whole earth by purchase or conquest.” Yet despite...
CHAPTER TWO. Asia in Early American Cinema: From Street Scenes to War Stories
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The title “SHANGHAI STREET SCENE, No. 2” appears first, as white lettering on a black background, along with a name, “Thomas A. Edison,” the date of the film, “1898,” and a control number, “38218.” After a few seconds, we see a black-and-white image of a broad street lined with trees. Our attention is immediately drawn to two rickshaws and a vehicle...
CHAPTER THREE. Knowing China: Accuracy, Authenticity, and The Good Earth
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Pearl Sydenstricker was born in Hillsboro, West Virginia, in 1892 while her American missionary parents were home on leave from China. At the age of three months, she accompanied her parents on their return to China, where she would spend much of the first half of her life. While other Americans read or heard about the violence of the Boxer Uprising,...
CHAPTER FOUR. At Home in the World: Occupied Japan and the American Century
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In James Michener’s autobiography, The World Is My Home: A Memoir, he attributes his success as a writer in part to fortuitous timing: I published my books at the precise time when Americans were beginning to look outward at the entire world rather than inward at themselves. They were spiritually and intellectually ready and even eager to read the exploring...
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Despite all of the information about geisha that My Geisha shares with its audiences, the film clearly was not the last word on the subject. Popular interest in and curiosity about geisha has continued unabated to the present day, as is evidenced by the 2005 film Memoirs of a Geisha (Rob Marshall), based on the 1997 novel by Arthur Golden...
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Page Count: 278
Illustrations: 8 B&W photographs
Publication Year: 2010