9 movie mascots you didn’t want for your nation

Would it really be a gift to see us as others see us...?

G'day, national stereotypes...

If you were taking a Rorschach test where you had to come up with a movie character in response to the name of a country, these, sadly, are among the likeliest contenders…

UNITED KINGDOM
You wanted…SHERLOCK HOLMESYou got…MR. BEAN
Dapper, brilliant, eccentric enough to be English and juuust macho enough to live down his odd domestic arrangements, who wouldn’t want to be associated with this most brilliant of cinematic Brits? From Rathbone to Cushing to errr Robert Downey Jr., he’s distinguished in every way.There was a certain point at which British tourists thought strongly about abandoning foreign travel for a few years. Even a damp week in Skegness seemed a brighter prospect than eliciting ‘Ooh MISTER BEAN!’ from every local that managed to deduce your country of origin (these being their sole two words of English).
FRANCE
You wanted…CATHERINE DENEUVEYou got…INSPECTOR CLOUSEAU
When not thinking about cowardly simians in association with the French. thoughts turn to Paris, glamour, chic and long films where nothing happens but there’s some nudity. Catherine Deneuve embodies all these things and more; polyglot, humanist and world icon with a glittering cinematic career, women wanted to be her and men just wanted her. Sheer, retina-searing style.A be-umb? This bugbear of the French Sûreté relentlessly hammered down Deneuve over nearly two decades in order to definitively associate the French with ineptitude, bufoonery and pompousness. No-one did a comedy French accent before The Pink Panther (1963), but by the late 70s ‘Ello ‘Ello was already set to get years of mileage out of it on British TV.
JAPAN
You wanted…TOSHIRO MIFUNEYou got…MONKEY!
Almost certainly the only Japanese actor to have made an enduring impression on the west, his lengthy partnership with Akira Kurosawa blazed a trail through film history for over twenty years. He was cool, he was talented, and you actually knew who he was.Ya-ta-ta-ta! Stop that, master! I’ll be good! Monkey stormed Britain in the early 1980s with its ludicrous dubbing, daft special-effects and pantomime gender-switching. It’s as barmy as a super-8 movie with a £5 budget, but a generation of Brits put Toshiro Mifune at No.2 in the Japanese actors list after Masaaki Sakai because of it (it was a list with two entries in it).
UNITED STATES
You wanted…JOHN WAYNEYou got…MICKEY MOUSE
Plain-talking, hard-smoking, right-wing in a common-sense Chuck Heston kinda way, Wayne embodied all the honest-to-goodness true grit that America wanted to be known for. And what the hell does Clint Eastwood know, anyway?The one Disney character that has not made anyone laugh since 1928, and such a goodytwoshoes that even the Pope would like to kick his rat behind and liven him up a bit. If only Donald had been at the wheel of that steamboat…
CHINA
You wanted…NONE OF OUR IMPERIALIST IDOLATRY!You got…FU MANCHU(and maybe Charlie Chan)
[This text cannot be viewed from this IP address]When Sax Rohmer’s oriental mastermind is completely forgotten, the word ‘fiendish’ will have to be put in mothballs. Played by so many actors, yet never by a Chinese one, Fu had a kinky daughter and lust for power that very nearly wobbled the stiff upper lip of his nemesis Nayland Smith.
ITALY
You wanted…SOPHIA LORENYou got…DON CORLEONE
Stylish, sexy, gutsy, intelligent, razor-sharp and Oscar-winning, this is the kind of charm Italia wanted to imprint on the world when the film industry descended on it in the 1960s. And forget the mafia – that’s old news. No mafia. No violin cases. That’s strictly 1930s.Do what he says or he’ll have you killed.
AUSTRALIA
You wanted…MICK DUNDEEYou got…MICK DUNDEE!
Now that’s a stereotype. Rough-hewn Mick Dundee loves a bit of a challenge, whether its a moody croc or a tough Sheila. He’s in with the abbos too, NTTAWWT.“Thank Christ for that, mate. He might not be the world’s best culural ambassador, but at least he isn’t bloody Les Patterson. We had twenty bloody years of Les Patterson…”
ROMANIA
You wanted…ANYONE BUT DRACULAYou got…DRACULA
So much excellent talent from such a small country. To name but a few, there’s Alexandra Maria Lara, Edward G. Robinson and Johnny Weismuller. And then there’s John Houseman, a familiar face indeed and co-founder of the Mercury theatre with Orson Welles, and, no wait – don’t go, theres —Experience talking: I dare you to date a Romanian girl and not talk about Dracula. No good talking about ‘Vlad of Wallachia’ either, they’ll know you’re really talking about Dracula. And they’ll hate it, not least because Drac was invented by an Irishman anyway. (hint: all this is amusing, but you’re going home alone)
NEW ZEALAND
You wanted…RUSSELL CROWEYou got…MICK DUNDEE!
He’s a pain in the arse, moody as a cat with PMT, but he’s brilliant, and the world knows it. Ridley Scott certainly knows it. How we laugh as he eccentrically sends young autograph hunters away in tears (we know it’s a memory they’ll treasure later). Crowe would actually have to kill a photographer in cold blood to even dent his career.Antipodean, right? Tinnies, Sheilas, the long ‘a’, the rising inflection…same thing, surely? We’re not sure exactly where New Zealand is but we think it’s near Melbourne. According to Wikipedia it used to actually be a separate land-mass before tectonic movement welded it back to Australia in the Pleistocene era..

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