Interesting story and sympathetic treatment of racial discrimination, Son of the Gods is rather too long and contains some hammy acting, but on the whole remains a fascinating film.
Story about a Chinese passing as White (Rchard Barthelmess) starts as Barthelmess leaves college after being insulted by a trio of brainless co-eds. He embarks on a world tour to discover himself and ends up as secretary to a British playwright (Claude King). In Monte Carlo he meets beautiful Alanna Wagner (Constance Bennett) and they fall in love. But when she discovers he is Chinese she goes berserk in a memorable scene.
Plagued by guilt and love, Alanna goes into a mental spiral and makes a few attempts to contact Barthelmess. After his father dies he takes over the business (banking?) and dons Chinese garb as a symbol of his hatred of the White race that has spurned him. After a San Francisco detective tells him the truth about his birth, Barthelmess makes the decision to honor his Chinese father and mother.
And I agree that one reviewer here never saw this film. Alanna declares her love for Sam BEFORE he tells her of his recent discovery. And that makes all the difference in this film.
Barthelmess and Bennett each have a few scenes where they chew the scenery, but on the whole this is a solid and interesting drama. Frank Albertson is good as the nice college pal, Claude King is solid as the playwright Bathurst, Bess Flowers has one scene as an Oklahoma Indian, and E. Alyn Warren is the Chinese father, Dorothy Mathews is nasty Alice. Not so good are Anders Randolf as Bennett's father and Mildred Van Dorn as Eileen. Also note the gorgeous blonde to the right of Barthelmess at the roulette table. What a stunner whoever she was!
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