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‘A fabulous speck on the Earth's surface’: Depictions of Colonial Macao in 1950s' Hollywood

Rui Lopes
Portuguese Studies
Vol. 32, No. 1 (2016), pp. 72-87
DOI: 10.5699/portstudies.32.1.0072
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.5699/portstudies.32.1.0072
Page Count: 16
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‘A fabulous speck on the Earth's surface’: Depictions of Colonial Macao in 1950s' Hollywood
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Abstract

ABSTRACT. Macao was featured in over a dozen Hollywood productions while under Portugal's domination, most of which were released in the 1950s. Drawing on multi-archival research, film studies and postcolonial theory, this article contextualizes the colony's screen presence before examining three high-profile productions: Macao (1952), Soldier of Fortune (1955), and Love is a Many-Splendored Thing (1955), the latter two enabling a comparison with depictions of British rule in Hong Kong. The article contributes to the study of the international image of Portugal's empire, concluding that Macao's historical and geographical characteristics, as well as Hollywood's orientalist conventions and hyperbolic sense of spectacle, ended up conjuring an overall image of ‘subaltern colonialism’. KEYWORDS. Cinema, colonialism, Hollywood, Macao, orientalism, Portugal

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