HomeAmerican Studies Asiavol. 1 no. 1 (2002)

Fade to Brown: Framing Manifest Destiny in the Philippines and the Asia-Pacific

Allan Punzalan Isaac

Discipline: Art



The author focused on three films, Real Glory (1939) with Gary Cooper, Donavan’s Reef (1963) with John Wayne, and Blue Hawaii (1961) with Elvis Presley, to illustrate how these popular mid-century American films and musicals revive and re-site the trope of the Frontier and Manifest Destiny in the Asia-Pacific. These movies provide versions of frontier as they depict white Americans 1) as founders of nationalism in the Asia-Pacific; 20 as noble settlers; and 3) as native or “naturalized” elite. These three fantastic visions of Asia and the Pacific manage to clothe native bodies for civilization even as they enable with American bodies to disrobe and appropriate Asian-Pacific spaces and identities.