I’m not sure why, but the zeitgeist seems to want me to think a lot about Sessue Hayakawa these days. It’s funny, but on his Wikipedia page one of the things that’s remarked about him is that it’s weird how he was a huge sex symbol when later Asian men in Hollywood were so desexualized. In fact, he was one of the first sex symbols of Hollywood, or so they say. I honestly don’t think that’s so weird when you also consider that he was a huge jock, and unbelievably handsome. Like, ridiculously so. What is intriguing, though, is that the Production Code both screwed him and made him since he could never portray the romantic hero if the lead actress was not Asian. But in a way, that also made him, because the villainous heartthrob may not get his costar, but he definitely gets the audience. It’s the Loki effect. No matter how wretched you make Tom Hiddleston look or behave, we all still know he’s Tom Hiddleston.
Here’s a selection of Hayakawa films in our collection. Tell us if any sweep you off your feet.
- The Bridge on the River Kwai (HU DVD 528)
- The Cheat (HU DVD 3701)
- Manslaughter (streaming)
- Dragon Painter (HU DVD 12030)
- House of Bamboo (HU DVD 36)
- The Swiss Family Robinson (HU DVD 3276)