The Dragon Painter


The Dragon Painter (1919)



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Movie Info

This was one of Sessue Hayakawa's more unusual films. His character, Tatsu, is a brilliant but half-mad artist who lives in the mountains and is constantly searching for his soul mate, whom he calls his "dragon princess." He finds her in the city -- she is Ume Ko (Tsuru Aoki, Hayakawa's real-life wife), the daughter of master painter Kano Indara (Edward Peil). Indara's one regret is that he never had a son to succeed him and Tatsu answers this unfulfilled wish. But after he and Ume are married, Tatsu looses his ambition and genius. Ume feels that their happiness is the cause of this, so she goes away. Tatsu believes she has committed suicide and is distraught. But he has a vision that his dragon princess tells him he must carry on with his art, so he does. Then he finds out that Ume is not dead, and when he hears the reason she left, they are gladly reunited.


Edward Peil Sr.
as Kano Indara
Sessue Hayakawa
as Tatsu, the Dragon Painter
Toyo Fujita
as Undobuchida
Tsuru Aoki
as Ume Ko

Critic Reviews for The Dragon Painter

All Critics (6)

Even the greatest of silent film enthusiasts will be hard pressed to recommend it...

Apr 24, 2008 | Full Review…

For social significance, if not artistic depth, the film deserves a contemporary audience.

Apr 11, 2008 | Rating: 3/5

This disc offers two silent films of America's first Asian film star, both with memorably melodic musical scores.

Mar 18, 2008 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

The most amazing thing about The Dragon Painter isn't so much that it has been rescued, restored and released on DVD, or that it's quite good, but that it ever existed at all

Mar 13, 2008 | Full Review…

Hayakawa was like the Asian Valentino of the silent screen

Feb 22, 2008 | Rating: B | Full Review…

The high concept film is also entertaining.

Feb 20, 2008 | Rating: B+ | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Dragon Painter

"The Dragon Painter" is a mesmerizing and tragically moving silent film about the obsessiveness and singlemindedness of artists, whose work often requires sacrifice.(Oh and be careful what you ask for. You might just get it.) Take Kano Indara(Edward Peil), for example. He is nearing the end of his days, wealthy in Tokyo, but sad that he does not have an heir to continue his work and unable to find a worthy successor, despite having a grown daughter, Ume-Ko(Tsuru Aoki). One day, his friend Uchida(Toyo Fujita), a surveyor, has a run in with Tatsu(Sessue Hayakawa), a supremely talented, if possibly mentally unbalanced painter who is convinced that his one true lady love has been trapped in the form of a dragon for the past thousand years and feels compelled to paint her day and night. Kino Indara is impressed with his artwork and invites him to his home, using his daughter as bait.

Walter M.
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

Interesting story about a talented artist who loses his talent when he gets married. She then fakes her death and his talent comes back. Now thats love!

cody franklin
cody franklin

Super Reviewer

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