The Good Earth

"Very Good"

The Good Earth Review


Imagine the uproar if The Good Earth had been made recently. Hell, people cried foul of Memoirs of a Geisha because it used Chinese actors to play Japanese roles. The Good Earth's stars were born in California and Germany.

Shockingly, surprisingly, stars Paul Muni and Luise Rainer pull it off. He's Wang Lung, a simple Chinese farmer. She's O-Lan, his even more simple wife. This adaptation of the Pearl Buck novel has the pair surviving through an epic struggle against poverty and nature, building their farm up from nothing (with O-Lan helping to bring in the harvest the night before she gives birth), then losing everything, slumming on the streets of the city, finding a cache of jewels during a riot, building it all up again, and facing a family crisis when Wang Lung decides to buy a second, younger wife. Hey, it's old world China. In the end, our heroes have to do battle against a plague of locusts. Locusts!

Of course, in 1937 this was epic filmmaking, and in 2006 it still hangs together surprisingly well. Sure, there's some jingoism and datedness to the tale, but The Good Earth is really more of a time capsule than a great piece of filmmaking. Muni and Rainer (who won one of her back to back Oscars for this role) are shockingly apt in their roles, and even minor characters (many of whom are also played by Anglos) are spot on recreations of their Chinese alter-egos.

Director Sidney Franklin's work here has nothing we haven't seen before, but it's good for its era. The script is more impressive, as are some of the set pieces -- most notably a riot scene that occurs during the down and out years for Wang and O-Lan. But this is Muni and Rainer's show, as they prove in scene after scene that, seriously, they don't make 'em like this any more.



The Good Earth

Facts and Figures

Run time: 138 mins

In Theaters: Friday 6th August 1937

Distributed by: WARNER BROTHERS PICTURES

Production compaines: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 92%
Fresh: 12 Rotten: 1

IMDB: 7.9 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: Albert Lewin,

Starring: as Wang Lung, as O-Lan, as Uncle, Tilly Losch as Lotus

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Colossal Movie Review

Colossal Movie Review

It's rare to find a movie that so defiantly refuses to be put into a...

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Movie Review

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Movie Review

It's unlikely that Guy Ritchie could make a boring movie if he wanted to. This...

Snatched Movie Review

Snatched Movie Review

It doesn't really matter that the script for this lively action-comedy is paper thin: teaming...

Jawbone Movie Review

Jawbone Movie Review

Boxing movies aren't usually this thoughtful. Sure, there are plenty of punchy moments in the...

Whisky Galore! Movie Review

Whisky Galore! Movie Review

Scottish filmmaker Gillies MacKinnon (Hideous Kinky) remakes the 1949 Ealing comedy classic, although it's difficult...

Alien: Covenant Movie Review

Alien: Covenant Movie Review

Master filmmaker Ridley Scott is back to continue the story 10 years after the events...

The Journey (2017) Movie Review

The Journey (2017) Movie Review

A fictionalised account of real events, this drama is reminiscent of Peter Morgan's work in...

Advertisement
Sleepless Movie Review

Sleepless Movie Review

In remaking the 2011 French thriller Sleepless Night, the filmmakers have dumbed down both the...

Unlocked Movie Review

Unlocked Movie Review

By injecting a steady sense of fun, this slick but mindless action thriller both holds...

Lady Macbeth Movie Review

Lady Macbeth Movie Review

A seriously impressive feature directing debut with a star-making central performance, this period British drama...

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Movie Review

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Movie Review

It was never going to be easy to match the impact of 2014's Guardians of...

The Promise Movie Review

The Promise Movie Review

The director of Hotel Rwanda, Terry George, turns to another humanitarian horror: the systematic murder...

Their Finest Movie Review

Their Finest Movie Review

Skilfully written, directed and acted, this offbeat British period film tells a story that catches...

Unforgettable Movie Review

Unforgettable Movie Review

With heavy echoes of trashy thrillers like Fatal Attraction, this movie overcomes its painfully simplistic...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.