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Have Killed I Movie Review

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It wasn't easy sustaining a career as a Japanese matinee idol, yet Sessue Hayakawa (1889–1973) was able to avoid the stereotypical roles that most Asian actors of his generation had to play. Even when he was assigned to a part in which the racism was taken for granted, Hayakawa invested the role with such strong sensuality that the racist message was subverted through sheer charisma. Take 1915's The Cheat: the unstated text is that Fannie Ward's branding by Hayakawa is A Fate Worse Than Death. But clearly there were many female audience members who were attracted to Hayakawa, and they turned out in droves to make him one of the top stars in 1915. Four years later, Hayakawa starred in The Tong Man, torn between his love (for Helen Jerome Eddy) and duty. In spite of his obvious boxoffice appeal, especially to women, jobs in Hollywood were not as plentiful as they might have been and Hayakawa signed on to make I Have Killed in France. Once again, he is torn; the wife (Huguette Duflos) of a close friend with a bad heart is being blackmailed by a slime and Hayakawa comes gallantly to her rescue. Maybe a little TOO gallantly, for even in France, he couldn't cruise off into the sunset with her, only alone. To stack the deck even more, her child gets along famously with Hayakawa. Isn't it amazing, what a great husband and father he might have been, if only…? (things were different, of course!). In 1931, Hayakawa as Scotland Yard investigator Ah Kee starred opposite Anna May Wong as Ling Moy in Daughter of the Dragon, with Swedish character actor Warner Oland as Fu Manchu. Hayakawa picked up a whole new generation of fans when he became a character actor himself in such films as Tokyo Joe, Three Came Home, The Bridge on the River Kwai (for which he won an Oscar nomination), The Geisha Boy, Green Mansions, Hell to Eternity, and Walt Disney's The Swiss Family Robinson. I Have Killed is vintage Hayakawa; his underplaying wipes out everyone else's histrionics and you'll be seeing his eyes in your dreams long after the movie's over. AKA: J'ai Tué.

1924 90m/B FR Sessue Hayakawa, Huguette Duflos, Max Maxudian, Maurice Sigrist, Pierre Daltour, Denise Legeay, Jules De Spoly, Andre Volbert; D: Roger Lion; W: Roger Lion; C: Maurice Defassiaux.

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