7.7/10
4,119
64 user 19 critic

The Good Earth (1937)

Passed | | Drama, Romance | 6 August 1937 (USA)
Although married Chinese farmers Wang and O-Lan initially experience success, their lives are complicated by declining fortunes and lean times, as well as the arrival of the beautiful young Lotus.

Directors:

Sidney Franklin, Victor Fleming (uncredited) | 2 more credits »

Writers:

Talbot Jennings (screen play), Tess Slesinger (screen play) | 2 more credits »
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Won 2 Oscars. Another 2 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Paul Muni ... Wang
Luise Rainer ... O-Lan
Walter Connolly ... Uncle
Tilly Losch ... Lotus
Charley Grapewin ... Old Father
Jessie Ralph ... Cuckoo
Soo Yong Soo Yong ... Aunt
Keye Luke ... Elder Son
Roland Lui Roland Lui ... Younger Son
Suzanna Kim Suzanna Kim ... Little Fool
Ching Wah Lee Ching Wah Lee ... Ching
Harold Huber ... Cousin
Olaf Hytten Olaf Hytten ... Liu - Grain Merchant
William Law William Law ... Gateman
Mary Wong Mary Wong ... Little Bride
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Storyline

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 then a famine forces them to leave their land and live in the town. However it turns out to be a blessing in disguise for them... Written by Tom Zoerner <Tom.Zoerner@informatik.uni-erlangen.de>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

China . . . . Land of unrest . . . tomorrow they may Starve !

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

6 August 1937 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

La buena tierra See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$2,800,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Color:

Black and White (Sepiatone)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Irving Thalberg envisioned casting only Chinese actors for the movie, but gave up the idea because there were not enough suitable Chinese actors. See more »

Goofs

Unexplained sequence of events or possible error in continuity. Toward the beginning of the film, Farmer Wang walks to the Great House to meet his bride, O-Lan. He is carrying a basket. It appears to be empty. As he enters a market, the farmer declines to buy peaches. We don't see him purchase goods or trade for anything. We don't see him filling the basket. However, the next scene shows him at the door of the house with a full basket. Later, he does buy peaches. At this point, however, we're still not made aware how he has money or silver. See more »

Quotes

Wang Lung: If you could have a little food, you'd have strength to bring the child. I'll find it. Tomorrow I'll...
O-Lan: When have you had food ?
Wang Lung: There's a thing in me that hurts... and not hunger. But a man has no words.
O-Lan: No words... but I know.
Wang Lung: O-Lan, the earth has forgotten us.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Introduction played with opening credits: The soul of great nation is expressed in the life of its humblest people. In this simple story of a Chinese farmer may be found something of a the soul of china - its humility, its courage, its deep heritage from the past and its vast promise for the future. See more »

Connections

Referenced in M*A*S*H: Of Moose and Men (1975) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

Classic story given distinguished screen treatment and cast to perfection
27 June 2001 | by rmears1See all my reviews

Pearl Buck's story of the ups and downs of a Chinese peasant family is adapted for the screen in a stately and dignified manner. Extreme respect is paid to the characters, who are given ample screen time to mature and develop. The roles are filled by actors who are able to get inside their characters without ever giving the impression that they are `performing,' and their performances are all the richer for it.

The story begins on the wedding day of Wang Lung (Paul Muni), a kind and gentle farmer. His wife, O-Lan (Luise Rainer), bears his sons and quietly encourages him to pursue his dreams, no matter what sacrifices they entail from her. The family lives through a famine and finally achieves prosperity and success. However, with success comes greed and corruption, and soon Wang is buying large plots of land and the Great Hall at which O-Lan was a servant. Eventually, he takes a second wife and breaks ties with all who were once close to him. It takes a tragedy for him to see the error of his ways.

All the while O-Lan stands behind him, supporting every decision he makes in her own tranquil way. Rainer's Oscar winning portrayal, like O-Lan herself, is the glue that holds the story together. Muni, often prone to hamminess in his work, shows restraint here and contributes a beautiful, multifaceted performance. The cinematography, which also received an Oscar, is excellent, as are the special effects. A sequence which involves locusts, invading the crops by the million, is nothing short of unforgettable. It is storytelling in the grandest sense of the word, with strong characterizations, high production values, and an engrossing story which more than justifies `The Good Earth's status as a classic.


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