Character actor Michael Shannon has been nominated for his second Oscar for his role in the 2016 thriller Nocturnal Animals. "No Small Parts" takes a look at some of the other characters he's played in the past.
The story of a farmer in China: a story of humility and bravery. His father gives Wang Lung a freed slave as wife. By diligence and frugality the two manage to enlarge their property. But ... See full summary »
Franz Roberti is a famous orchestra conductor who has a number of girlfriends. While talking with his old music teacher, Professor Thalma, he meets Constance, an aspiring music composer. ... See full summary »
In rural 1840's Scotland, Gavin Dishart arrives to become the new "little minister" of Thrums's Auld Licht church. He meets a mysterious young gypsy girl in the dens and to his horror ... See full summary »
Lizzie Curry is on the verge of becoming a hopeless old maid. Her wit and intelligence and skills as a homemaker can't make up for the fact that she's just plain plain! Even the town ... See full summary »
In Nazi Germany in 1936 seven men escape from a concentration camp. The camp commander puts up seven crosses and, as the Gestapo returns each escapee he is put to death on a cross. The ... See full summary »
A young priest, Father Chisholm is sent to China to establish a Catholic parish among the non-Christian Chinese. While his boyhood friend, also a priest, flourishes in his calling as a ... See full summary »
John M. Stahl
Mountain girl Trigger Hicks, a fierce loner equally handy with a rock or a prayer, is in danger of having her faith-healing mistaken for witchcraft by the neighbors. She shows a vulnerable ... See full summary »
Ling Tang and his family live on his prosperous farm in rural Southern China and have not yet felt the impact of the Japanese invasion in the North. Tang's two oldest sons, Lao Ta Tan and Lao Er Tan are married and hard working while youngest son Lao San Tan remains a free spirit. Er's wife Jade is also willfully unconventional and desires to exercises her literacy skills by reading books, a most unfeminine practice in 1930's China. Tang's only daughter is married to Wu Lien, a city merchant who profits from selling Japanese goods. When the dreaded invasion reaches their village, the family is scattered as the sons join the resistance while Wu Lien survives by collaborating with the enemy. Written by
Beautiful story of the Chinese under Japanese occupation
Pearl Buck's novel "Dragon Seed" was made into a film in 1944. Back then, for reasons known only to themselves, the studios did not cast Chinese to play Chinese in major roles. Looking at the film now, I guess it's important to remember that to the 1944 audiences, there was nothing unusual about this.
Taking the non-Chinese casting out of the equation for just a moment, "The Dragon Seed" is a powerful story of what happened to the Chinese during the barbaric occupation of the Japanese. The story focuses on the family of Ling Tan (Walter Huston), his wife (Aline McMahon), and his sons, Lao Er Tan (Turhan Bey) and wife Jade (Katharine Hepburn), Lao San Tan (Hurd Hatfield) and Lao Ta Tan (Robert Bice). Jade is a modern thinker, and part of the story deals with the struggles between the new times and old traditions and the role of women. The other part of the story is how various people deal with the occupation. There is submissiveness, resistance, and collaboration.
I'm most moved by a review on this site by a man who has a Chinese father-in-law. His father-in-law loved the film. No one in China knew that America was on their side; they were taught to hate the western world.
So if a Chinese man can overlook the casting, I suppose I can too, but I can't. The acting is fantastic, but one wonders what was wrong with Anna May Wong, Keye Luke, Sen Yung, and why only the extras and children seemed to be at the very least Asian. For me the most egregious casting was that of Katharine Hepburn. Her acting came alive in the second part of the film. She once said that Spencer Tracy made her seem very feminine. He's not in this movie. In the beginning, in the love scenes with her husband, it doesn't come off. She's better when the character shows strength. Her finishing school accent and wig don't cut it either. Very difficult to watch. Also, she seems oddly matched with Turhan Bey.
This film is still well worth seeing. It's very dramatic and emotional, with a very big and poignant ending.
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