Monday, October 22, 2007

Harrison Ford v1.0

Imagine my surprise on seeing this credit in the Lon Chaney movie "Shadows" (1922).

It seems Harrison Ford was a successful leading man, appearing in 80+ films through the silent era.

He's not bad. He has a star on Hollywood Boulevard that is probably often mistaken for the star of the replicant Harrison Ford.

Here's Lon Chaney in the same movie playing "Yen Sin", a Chinese laundryman.

There had been several notoriously negative portrayals of chinese immigrants in movies at that time. "Shadows" may have been an attempt to counter the stereotypes, but I suspect it was concocted just as much to see how far out Chaney could go in his appearance.

It's only somewhat more convincing a transformation than, say, blackface on Al Jolson, but Chaney creates a great character none-the-less and "Shadows" turns out to be a pretty good film.

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