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The Dragon Painter 1919
Description: A wild boy and genius becomes a master painter's disciple, but loses his divine gift when he finds love.
Released: 28 Sep 1919 Director: William Worthington Writers: Richard Schayer (scenario), Mary McNeil Fenollosa (based on the novel "The Dragon Painter" by) Actors: Sessue Hayakawa, Tsuru Aoki, Edward Peil Sr., Toyo Fujita Genres: Drama, Romance
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The Dragon Painter Reviews:

The Dragon Painter was long considered lost, but was rediscovered in France and brought to the George Eastman House for restoration. Sessue Hayakawa is probably greatest known for his performance in The Bridge on the River Kwai, but he was now a silent movie star of some acclaim. This movie was made through his own production company in 1919, which proves the power he had attained in Hollywood in the silent era.The movie concerns a slightly angry but brilliant artist Tatsu living in the wilds of Japan and painting exquisite portraits of the dragon that he believes has captured his princess/fiancée. Oddly enough, when he finds his real love, he loses his genius to paint.The princess is played by Hayakawa's true life wife, Tsuru Aoki, and is beautifully shot from a lyrical Japanese perspective.


A mentally disturbed artist (Sessue Hayakawa), from the mountains of Japan, is convinced that his fiancee, a pretty princess, has been captured and turned into a dragon. His obsession with his fictitious loss, leads to his artistic inspiration.It isn't until a young surveyor, (Toyo Fujita) comes across some of Tatsu's artwork, that his genius is discovered. The surveyor then informs the popular artist, Kano Indara about his discovery, who instantly agrees to meet Tatsu.Indara, his daughter Ume-Ko, and Undobuchida later realise that they cannot persuade Tetsu to come down from the mountains to further his talent as an artist, without a ploy.Ume-Ko consequently dresses up as a Princess, and the promise of Tatsu being re-united with his long lost love, lures him into Kano Indara's house. Of course, the family realises that Tatsu has a lot of uncivilized and crazy habits which he needs to receive rid of, if he is going to fit into civilized Japanese society.Overall, the film is a very sweet and interesting piece. There is nice test of color-tinting throughout the film, which perfectly reflects the mood and theme. Hayakawa does an nice job at testing a madman- a nice combination of dramatic and comical acting.Although it is not the greatest silent film I've ever seen, it is definitely worth watching. It's a lovely tiny fairy tale which puts a smile on your face!


I had never heard of The Dragon Painter and decided to watch it. I'm glad I did. It is a pretty film, almost devoid of the clichés of silent-era acting (broad mannerisms, excessive mugging, etc) that create many silent movies so comical to audiences today.The lead actor is Sessue Hayakawa, who many movie fanatics may remember as the Pirate Captain in the Disney ver of Swiss Family Robinson or from Bridge on the River Kwai. Here he delivers a nice performance as a "mad" artist that is at times comical and tragic.The cinematography and art direction are wonderful, as is the soundtrack.If I have one complaint it is that the inter-titles enjoy too long on the screen. But this is a minor quibble.A easy tale of madness, loss, redemption and ultimately love, I can't suggest this movie highly enough.



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