Purple Dawn (1923)

Genres - Crime  |   Run Time - 53 min.  |  
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Generally, during the silent era, Caucasian actors, not Asians, would play "Oriental" roles. In this romantic drama, Bessie Love is not exactly the most realistic Chinese girl. Bob, a sailor (William E. Aldrich), gets involved in drug smuggling through his brutal boss, sea captain Red Carson (Bert Sprotte). A tong leader, Wong Chang (Edward Piel), steals the goods that Bob is responsible for. Although Bob receives a sound beating, he manages to escape to a town in the country, where he meets a pretty girl (Priscilla Bonner). He falls in love with her, never giving a thought to Mui Far, the Chinese girl he left behind (Love). Chang locates Bob and brings him back. Carson, believing that Bob stole the drugs, beats him. His country sweetheart is kidnapped, and he is threatened with death. Mui Far saves him by going the to police, and she reunites him with his sweetheart. Realizing that their romance was always doomed (in the 1920s, interracial marriages were considered unacceptable), Mui Far commits suicide.

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Keywords

captain [military], daughter, drugs, smuggling