Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Good Earth (1937) (2nd time)

The story of a farmer and his wife in China: a story of humility and bravery. [imdb]

Nominated for 5 Oscars:

Best Picture
Best Director: Sidney Franklin
Best Actress: Luise Rainer (WINNER)
Best Cinematography (WINNER)
Best Editing

The Good Earth is not as good as I remember it to be. I’ve first seen it on TCM over 10 years ago and it made an impression. It’s still good or ok, and definitely miles above The Life of Emile Zola, which actually won the Best Picture. The Good Earth is very 1930s, it’s some kind of an epic and quite dated: because it’s funny nowadays to see Caucasian actors with makeup on, trying to look Chinese.

The production part of it is the best: the Art Direction and Cinematography are very good and the Visual Effects in the locust plague scene are very impressive for that era. Luise Rainer gives a good performance and I’ll write more about her acting on the other blog, in my Best Actress series. Overall, it’s a fine movie, perfect if you’re in the mood for something a bit cheesy, but never boring and with a very vintage feel to it.

My rating for the film: 7.5/10. Nothing really bad about it.


  1. I love the novel but have yet to watch the movie. I definitely have to check it out!

  2. I think I just couldn't get past the weirdness of the casting. Especially Charley Grapewin as Old Father. He reminded me of a gold prospector.

    So, I found it a bit too melodramatic and cheesy, particularly Paul Muni. Definitely loved the artistic elements, though. That locust scene stands out, as does the riot scene.

    I actually preferred Zola. I think I might be the only one :) Muni wasn't quite as child-like in it.

  3. I hated this film! Slow, boring, a torturous experience! Rainer's performance didn't work to me.

  4. Yes! I'll tell you my thoughts on Rainer when you do you're a profile, but I despised the film completely.