Race initially posed few career limits for Japanese actor Sessue Hayakawa. Remembered primarily for David Lean’s The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957), Hayakawa (a University of Chicago graduate) was one of Hollywood’s biggest and richest stars during the silent era, becoming an international sex symbol after his breakthrough in Cecil B. DeMille’s The Cheat (1915). Hayakawa leveraged his success to create his own production company and make films with a more nuanced depiction of what was then called the Orient. In this 1919 drama, directed by William Worthington, Hayakawa plays an obsessive artist who’s convinced his fiancee has been changed into a dragon; a master painter looking for an apprentice offers him a path back to sanity. Contemporary viewers may balk at the “yellowface” casting of Edward Peil Sr. as the mentor and the shots of Yosemite Valley standing in for rural Japan, but the film is compelling for its mythic underpinnings and Hayakawa’s sensitive performance.