For those too young to know this history or those wanting to take a walk down memory lane, here are the 25 “yellow face” film performances (so no David Carradine in Kung Fu unless the long-rumored film version gets made) that have arguably had the most impact on our cultural landscape.
1 | The Fu Manchu film series (1923-2007)
H. Agar Lyons, Warner Oland, Boris Karloff, Harry Brannon, Christopher Lee, Peter Sellers, Nicolas Cage as Fu Manchu
Along with Charlie Chan, Fu Manchu may be the most recognizable fictional Asian character in American pop culture. But while Chan was “good,” Fu Manchu was pure evil, the very embodiment of the “yellow peril” menace.
After his wife and son are killed in the Boxer Rebellion, Fu Manchu vows revenge against the British allies who deserted them, eventually becoming a threat to good Caucasian folk everywhere. This is a character that refuses to die, as evidenced by Nicolas Cage’s tongue-in-cheek cameo as the evil Chinese villain in this year’s Grindhouse.