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The Son-Daughter (1932)

Passed | | Drama | 23 December 1932 (USA)
A large group of Chinese immigrants in San Francisco is clandestinely donating whatever money they earn to smuggle arms into China for the rebels in their fight against the centuries old ... See full summary »


Clarence Brown, Robert Z. Leonard (uncredited)


John F. Goodrich (screen play) (as John Goodrich), Claudine West (screen play) | 3 more credits »




Complete credited cast:
Helen Hayes ... Lien Wha
Ramon Novarro ... Tom Lee
Lewis Stone ... Dr. Dong Tong
Warner Oland ... Fen Sha
Ralph Morgan ... Fang Fou Hy
Louise Closser Hale ... Toy Yah
H.B. Warner ... Sin Kai


A large group of Chinese immigrants in San Francisco is clandestinely donating whatever money they earn to smuggle arms into China for the rebels in their fight against the centuries old Manchurian imperial oppressors. The secrecy of their mission is to hide their identities from anyone supporting the imperial regime. One of the immigrants supporting the rebels is Dr. Dong Tong. His only offspring, the demure Lien Wha, who also supports the cause, is in love with poor university student, Tom Lee, the two who, after meeting formally, want to get married, which Dr. Tong supports. However, Dr. Tong learns that the rebel backers are short $100,000 for the latest shipment of arms, and are asking the four men within the group with eligible daughters to donate $25,000 apiece, that money to be raised by selling their daughters into marriage to a wealthy buyer. Dr. Tong is one of the four, Lien Wha the daughter to be sold. Simultaneously, Dr. Tong learns of Tom's true identity as the son of ... Written by Huggo

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She sold herself to the highest bidder...and became her father's "Son-Daughter." (Print Ad-Daily Star, ((Long Island City, NY)) 21 January 1933)




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Did You Know?


The play opened in New York City, New York, USA on 19 November 1919 and had 223 performances. Writer George Scarborough filed a lawsuit against M-G-M over alterations in his play, but the outcome of the suit has not been determined. See more »

User Reviews

More white-washing in early Hollywood
22 December 2019 | by HotToastyRagSee all my reviews

Since no one in the cast of The Son-Daughter is Chinese, it's easy to imagine the story being transported to a different culture and environment. The basic story still works, so I don't know why they made everyone pretend to be Chinese in the first place. A young couple is in love, but because of propriety, respect for their families, and a duty to problems greater to their own leads them to be separated as the girl is married off to a man she doesn't love. This is not a uniquely Chinese story, but Helen Hayes, Roman Novarro, Lewis Stone, Ralph Morgan, and H.B. Warner were all made up in costumes, wigs, and make up and told to act in stereotypical facial and body expressions.

The basic story isn't bad, but since the "white-washing" of early Hollywood is sometimes pretty painful to watch, this won't be a classic you'll want to watch over and over again. Die-hard Helen Hayes fans will want to watch it, but until the very end climax, she isn't given much opportunity to shine. It's a pretty chilling ending, though, so be prepared. For a similar story about familial duty with Helen deferring to her dad Lewis Stone, check out Vanessa, Her Love Story if you want to see her without so much makeup.

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Release Date:

23 December 1932 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Canção do Oriente See more »


Box Office


$423,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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