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1950s-1960s movie with a group of Asian villains led by a woman

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I am looking for movie, because RustyShacklefurd from other message board wrote this post, but I don't have too many ideas.

If I remember correctly it was a color film. I don’t remember anything about the plot and probably was too young to understand it. All I remember is the good guys were white people and the bad guys were a group of around 3-5 Asian men led by a middle aged woman. If I remember correctly the entire movie all took place in a large city in America or somewhere else in the West. There was a large comedic fight at the end of the movie. At one point in the fight one of the Asian men went flying through the air and one of the white men caught him on an accent chair that he held on top of his head.

I'm not entirely sure it was from the 1950s-1960s but I remember it clearly having the "look" of being from that period. It was technicolor (unless it was actually black and white and I remembered wrongly) and I remember all the characters being dressed very formally in the way that movie characters always were back then. All the action and movement in the movie make it look like something from that period, especially the large comedic fight at the end of the movie that I referenced earlier. To add to what I said before about the Asian villains, I only remember the female leader being formally dressed. I remember the Asian men under her command being all dressed the same and rather plainly. It took place in an American city or somewhere else in the West and the Asian bad guys were the only Asians in the film.



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Okay, so the middle aged woman who led the bad guys was also Asian? And I assume by "Asian" you mean "East Asian", that is from China, Japan, Korea, Mongolia, that part of the world, not Southern Asian or West Asian.
I will add that if this movie was really made in the 1950s-1960s it would be very unusual for an American movie to have so many East Asian characters. That should make it easier to find--unless in reality it WASN'T made in that period. (An exception would be movies about World War II or about the Korean War, but that doesn't seem to be what is being described here)
If there was a "big comedic fight" at the end, that suggests this was a comedy, yes?
Perhaps in fact it took place in an East Asian city, like Tokyo or Hong Kong, and the good guys were Westerners who were visiting the city. And an East Asian city might look a little behind the times to a Western viewer.
For example, the comedy "Revenge of the Pink Panther", one of the films in the "Pink Panther" series, is about a detective (Inspector Clouseau), and Western gangsters, and they all end up in Hong Kong at the end. There is a funny chase, but I don't think there is a funny fight scene at the end. (Although earlier in the film, Clouseau fights both his valet Cato (who is Chinese) and also a mysterious assassin named Mr. Chong)



I got the answer from my familiar.


By Asian I mean East Asian. I think the middle aged woman was Asian but my memory of that could be wrong. From what I remember there weren't that many Asian characters. Just the woman and the 3-5 men under her command. I can't really remember anything that actually happened in the movie other than the fight scene at the end but based on that scene I would say it was a comedy. You may be right that it actually took place in an Asian rather than Western city. I have no memory of the race of any extras in the background who would have been the average residents of the city. My extremely vague memory tells me that the bad guys may have traveled to that city in order to get something. I think the Caucasians may have had something that the bad guys wanted or the bad guys were in the city looking for something.

I'm pretty sure it wasn't a Pink Panther movie. I've seen a couple of those movies and I don't remember this movie having any of the kind of super zany antics from Clouseau that are typical of the Pink Panther movies. I don't remember any of the white male characters in the movie being complete bumbling fools.



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I did some searching. We are looking for a comedy, probably American, made in the 1950s-1960s, where an East Asian woman leads a gang of East Asian bad guys against some white good guys. Is that right? Okay, any American movie made in that period with East Asian bad guys would have automatically been racist. (Remember "Breakfast at Tiffany's?") So what I have been looking at is websites about racist portrayals of East Asians, and haven't found anything that fits. I am thinking you may have some of the details wrong, or at least one significant detail.



Okay, any American movie made in that period with East Asian bad guys would have automatically been racist.
Not true, you are stereotyping American made films from that period with East Asian bad guys.

(Remember "Breakfast at Tiffany's?")
Guilty of stereotyping but no evidence of racism unless you think those 2 are the same thing, which they are not.

So what I have been looking at is websites about racist portrayals of East Asians, and haven't found anything that fits. I am thinking you may have some of the details wrong, or at least one significant detail.
Maybe you haven't found it because what you're looking for isn't actually racist?



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Mickey Rooney's portrayal of "Mr Yunioshi" in "Breakfast at Tiffany's" was INCREDIBLY racist. There is no way that could be done today. There are websites that talk about racist portrayals of Asians in Hollywood movies, and that movie is often listed as the number one most racist.

If everything the OP said was true, we are looking for an American movie made in the 1950s or 1960s with some East Asian characters (at least four, maybe more). Honestly, that would be a lot of East Asian characters for an American film made in that period, that isn't about a war being fought in Asia (which apparently the movie we are looking for isn't). I would therefore expect such a movie to be talked about in these websites about portrayals of East Asian characters in Hollywood. If the portrayal was racist, I would expect this movie to be discussed. If the portrayal was not racist, I would also expect the movie to be discussed as a rare example of a positive portrayal of East Asians in old Hollywood (and really, anything before STAR WARS was another era of Hollywood). But the OP says that the Asian characters were all villains, which taps into the old racist stereotype of the "Evil Oriental".

No, nothing I can say is 100% certain, I am dealing in probabilities. I think it is probable that the OP has one more facts wrong.
I have suggested maybe the film was not set in the West, but was set in an Asian city.
Maybe it wasn't made 1950s-60s, but another time. Maybe it was just set in the 1950s-60s. (or another time)
Maybe it isn't an American movie.
The OP isn't sure that the main villainess was Asian, maybe just her henchmen were (I think of Goldfinger, he was a German who had Korean henchmen)

One question I would have is were the Asian characters played by Asian actors? Or by white actors in "yellowface" (ala Mickey Rooney in "Breakfast at Tiffany's")?

I would also like to know what year the OP saw this movie.

Is the OP sure it is a movie? Could it be an episode of a TV show or even a sketch on a comedy show?

Another thing occurs to me, in detective/thriller/noir movies set in American cities, it isn't too unusual to have a focus on the city's "Chinatown" neighborhood. Maybe that is what we are looking for. (Again, this was for the racist portrayal of "exotic" "orientalness".)

Note that the problems of racist portrayals of Asians by Hollywood continues to this very day, as I have been learning as I search for this movie online.



Mickey Rooney's portrayal of "Mr Yunioshi" in "Breakfast at Tiffany's" was INCREDIBLY racist. There is no way that could be done today. There are websites that talk about racist portrayals of Asians in Hollywood movies, and that movie is often listed as the number one most racist.
I understand that there's people who call it racist, but I also understand that there's people who have moved the goalposts on the definition of racism. There was no hate involved in that portrayal, and Rooney was heartbroken to learn (decades later) that some people were offended (some Asians were and some weren't). I take racism very seriously, so I would just personally be very careful when labeling someone or something as racist. It was a stereotype done for humor, no harm meant. Being judgmental is not a good thing.



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Even the filmmakers have admitted that they now realize that Mickey Rooney's performance in "Breakfast at Tiffany's" was racist. If you can't see that, you really don't understand racism. I found a lot of discussion of this online while looking for the OP's film.



Even the filmmakers have admitted that they now realize that Mickey Rooney's performance in "Breakfast at Tiffany's" was racist. If you can't see that, you really don't understand racism. I found a lot of discussion of this online while looking for the OP's film.

Don't worry, you're right. It's racist. It was understood as such by some at the time it was made, and it's been widely understood to be overtly so since the 90s. To argue otherwise is to pretend that the definition of what makes something racist is so narrow that it only allows those things which deliberately have malice or deliberately discriminate to qualify, which is a real convenient way to brush a lot of awful shit under the rug and pretend it was just 'all in good fun'.


Don't believe it.


Using a stereotype of an ethnic group in order to mock the way they look and talk and behave, to dehumanize that group so that they only become something we are supposed to laugh at, doesn't suddenly become not racist because it was done 'as a joke'. Even if it was born from completely naive intentions (which it very well could have been, I believe Rooney when he says he was distraught to learn of the legacy of this performance) the harm this kind of thing causes, and the stereotypes it reaffirms, is exactly the sort of shit which perpetuates the idea of other races as something that is 'less than', which is exactly the seed from which more politically motivated and deliberately intentioned hate is born from.



So when I am with a group of friends, which includes multiple races, and we tease each other, and have fun with the differences in our races, it's racism? It isn't, unless somebody sees it from a far and believes it is to them. It's ambiguous by nature. People will have their opinions and that's fine. My main beef here is that it should never have been brought up. It is off-topic and not supposed to be discussed on this forum. Help the op find their film, or don't, but leave the personal agendas at home.



So when I am with a group of friends, which includes multiple races, and we tease each other, and have fun with the differences in our races, it's racism?

No.




Help the op find their film, or don't, but leave the personal agendas at home.

If calling Rooney's performance in Tiffany's racist is somehow political, then we are already ****ed as a society. Which we of course are, and I increasingly couldn't give a shit anymore anyways.



The trick is not minding
No.







If calling Rooney's performance in Tiffany's racist is somehow political, then we are already ****ed as a society. Which we of course are, and I increasingly couldn't give a shit anymore anyways.
He didn’t bring up it being political nor accuse you of being political, but rather having a personal agenda, which aren’t necessarily the same thing.

But yes, Rooney’s portrayal was racist. Stereotyping a race in a movie or some other depiction can be, and will be, viewed as racist.



He didn’t bring up it being political nor accuse you of being political, but rather having a personal agenda, which aren’t necessarily the same thing.

But yes, Rooney’s portrayal was racist. Stereotyping a race in a movie or some other depiction can be, and will be, viewed as racist.
You have a right to your opinion, but the OP did not mention racism as an element of the film that they are looking for.



He didn’t bring up it being political nor accuse you of being political, but rather having a personal agenda, which aren’t necessarily the same thing.

But yes, Rooney’s portrayal was racist. Stereotyping a race in a movie or some other depiction can be, and will be, viewed as racist.

If it's not political, where is the foul in this poster mentioning that Rooney's performance is racist?



If it's not political, where is the foul in this poster mentioning that Rooney's performance is racist?
The OP's question has nothing to do with that performance or the movie it came from. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy discussions of this nature, I just don't think Yoda wants us going there.

I probably never should have added to it. Blanket statements just rub me the wrong way. No offense to anybody, it's just my point of view.



The trick is not minding
If it's not political, where is the foul in this poster mentioning that Rooney's performance is racist?
Pretty much it had nothing to do with the original question and somehow was shoehorned in with the racist caricatures of Asians in general, which also had no place in the OP original question.

It really had no bearing on on the topic itself.



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If everyone is really having fun, then yes this sort of "teasing" is okay. But it so easy for this "teasing" to get out of hand and become racism.

Mickey Rooney in "Breakfast at Tiffany's" is an example of teasing that got so out of hand that it became racism that really hurt people.

When I read the OP, it said it was a movie made in the 50s or 60s with some Asian characters. I realized that was unusual for the time, so thought that would be the key to finding the movie. So I started looking at websites that talked about Asian characters in Hollywood movies. And most of these websites focused their discussion on how racist Hollywood's portrayal of Asians has been. And one film that was consistently held up as an example of this was "Breakfast at Tiffany's". That is how I came across this stuff just by looking for the OP's film.

Now I think it would make more sense to focus on the bit where during a comedy fight scene someone is sent flying through the air to land in a chair that another character is holding above their head. I don't think I have ever seen that happen in a film. If we can find that bit, we know we have found the film (and that is a detail the OP is unlikely to have gotten wrong)



Now I think it would make more sense to focus on the bit where during a comedy fight scene someone is sent flying through the air to land in a chair that another character is holding above their head. I don't think I have ever seen that happen in a film. If we can find that bit, we know we have found the film (and that is a detail the OP is unlikely to have gotten wrong)

I think that it could be movie from 80's or at least 70's, but I doubt that comedic scenes in this style were used in 60's USA movies.
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Now I think it would make more sense to focus on the bit where during a comedy fight scene someone is sent flying through the air to land in a chair that another character is holding above their head. I don't think I have ever seen that happen in a film. If we can find that bit, we know we have found the film (and that is a detail the OP is unlikely to have gotten wrong)
I thought I remembered something like that happening in the original Casino Royale but it's someone flying through the air and landing on a woman shoulders. It's at around the 2:48 mark.