Fu Manchu - the alien

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Max von Sydow as Ming and Boris Karloff as Fu Manchu

Ming the Merciless? The Insidious Fu Manchu? Grant Tracey thinks so . . .

"Ming, the alien outsider, and Aura, the desiring female, are both transgressive figures, needing to be somehow contained by the text’s racist and sexist ideology. Ming is clearly Asian-coded in Alex Raymond’s Sunday strips—his skin is colored yellow; in the film, "Asian otherness" is implied through Ming’s appearance (the mustache, the exoticized fingers, the squinting eyes, and the Fu Manchu mustache all recall Sax Rohmer’s Asian mastermind bent on world domination), his stereotypical manner (inscrutable and deadly), and the far-eastern sounds to the names that inform his identity (Mongo, a diminutive for Mongolia; Ming, a reference to a series of imperial dynasties in China’s history). Ming’s desire for Dale and Aura’s desire for Flash spins the narrative in dynamic directions, sometimes pitting daughter against father, other times aligning them in their common lust."

From Flash Gordon by Grant Tracey

"You might consider, by way of influence, the way that Ming's voice, in the accompanying clip from the film, displays the alternating 'sibilant' and 'guttural' qualities noted in Fu's voice!"pathetic" soundbite -- Patrick D. Enright 

From the collection of Patrick D. Enright

Charles Middleton as Ming

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