The Cheat
Asian Diaspora On Screen

The Cheat

with live keyboard accompaniment by Bob Merrill
May 25, 2023

A twisty tale of greed, lust and revenge, starring early-Hollywood male heartthrob Sessue Hayakawa.

Hop Film Now

Who is Sessue Hayakawa?


This 1915 silent film classic from Cecil B. DeMille stars Japanese actor Sessue Hayakawa, the first actor of Asian descent to achieve stardom in the US. Often typecast as the taboo, sexually dominant villain—and The Cheat is no exception in this regard—Hayakawa was, ironically, a heartthrob among American audiences and one of the first male Hollywood sex symbols. The Cheat positions him in a love triangle with a married couple played by Fannie Ward and Jack Dean, Ward's real-life husband. Despite being burdened with blunt, exoticized representations characteristic of the time, Hayakawa elevates his onscreen persona with a riveting, intoxicating performance in this propulsive, twisty tale of greed, lust and revenge.

D: Cecil B. DeMille, US, 1915, 59m

Programmed as part of the Asian Diaspora on Screen series in collaboration with the Dartmouth Asian American Studies Collective (DAASC).

Bob began playing piano when he was 5 years old and has played bass and piano professionally for more than 40 years, spanning a spectrum of styles.

He can often be found playing jazz at Hartland's Skunk Hollow Tavern or Hanover's Canoe Club, or playing private engagements with the Woodstock-based band Swing Machine.

The Cheat (1915), a lurid yellow-peril melodrama with Sessue Hayakawa, remains interesting today not only for its gripping vulgarity but also for the spectacular innovations in dramatic lighting DeMille created with his cameraman, Alvin Wyckoff.”

Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
Asian Diaspora On Screen
Asian Diaspora On Screen

We've partnered with the Dartmouth Asian American Studies Collective (DAASC) to program a weekly series highlighting the migrations of Asian peoples all over the globe. Classic independent films,...

Learn More
Everything Everywhere all at Once
Everything Everywhere All At Once, 2022
Hop Film Now

This season brings an eclectic array of cinema to our screens. In addition to our regular offerings of hand-curated, high-caliber new releases, we've partnered with the Dartmouth Asian American...

Learn More

Contact Us

Box Office

Week of 3/20:
Monday 3/20, CLOSED
Tuesday 3/21, 12-5 pm
Wednesday 3/22, 12-5pm
Thursday 3/23, 12-5pm
Friday 3/24, 12-5pm
​​​​​​​Sat 3/25, CLOSED

Visiting Information

Black Family Visual Arts Center
22 Lebanon Street
Hanover, NH

Directions to Venue
Get Tickets