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THE GOOD EARTH


HoldenIsHere
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  • 11 months later...

I can't stand this movie.

Agreed, the locust sequence is amazing.

 

But I am always distracted by Reiner's performance. I so wish it had been Anna Mae Wong instead. Reiner is insipid and although I loathe adultery, I actually empathize with the Muni charactor somewhat. (just my 2¢)

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I saw the last half or so of THE GOOD EARTH this morning and was really impressed with the special effects for the plague of locusts sequence.

Even today it was impressive but in 1937 it must have really amazed audiences.

Not sure if I agree with that point of view. It almost implies that people back then did not know how to dazzle or be dazzled with spectacular effects. Films had been showing large-scale disasters since the early days of Griffith and DeMille. In some ways, the locust scene may have seemed pedestrian to fans accustomed to the epics of these other directors.

 

I agree it's very well done, but it is not necessarily an exception. These people knew what they were doing, probably better than the special effects wizards do today, sitting at computers and pressing buttons. 

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I can't stand this movie.

Agreed, the locust sequence is amazing.

 

But I am always distracted by Reiner's performance. I so wish it had been Anna Mae Wong instead. Reiner is insipid and although I loathe adultery, I actually empathize with the Muni charactor somewhat. (just my 2¢)

 

Chinese "Scarface"?  :lol:

 

2144.jpg

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Not sure if I agree with that point of view. It almost implies that people back then did not know how to dazzle or be dazzled with spectacular effects. Films had been showing large-scale disasters since the early days of Griffith and DeMille. In some ways, the locust scene may have seemed pedestrian to fans accustomed to the epics of these other directors.

 

I agree it's very well done, but it is not necessarily an exception. These people knew what they were doing, probably better than the special effects wizards do today, sitting at computers and pressing buttons. 

 

Your statement is not accurate. Some people may have issues with today's computer-generated effects for various reasons, but today's effects wizards blend computer images with live action in ways that do not scream "fake" unlike many of the movie effects of old.

Unfortunately for many movies today, the effects magic is all they have going for them.

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Little has been discussed about the other racism practiced in Hollywood for years.  That of actors in "yellow face".  Yes, not black face but yellow face.  White actors portraying Asians.  There has been many such instances like Luise Rainer, Paul Muni, Katherine Hepburn and Warner Oland.  Can you think of others?

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I can't stand this movie.

 

But I am always distracted by Reiner's performance. I so wish it had been Anna Mae Wong instead. Reiner is insipid and although I loathe adultery, I actually empathize with the Muni charactor somewhat. (just my 2¢)

and believe me: your $0.02 is worth so much more than that where i'm concerned. I can't tell you how much I agree with you.

 

I was home for a lot of her tribute yesterday and gosh I don't know: has enough time passed for me to say out loud that she's an awful awful actress in everything she did?

 

Ps- it is Rainer with an "a", i think. Although seeing Meathead as O-lan would be a cinematic experience beyond compare.

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"The good earth" belongs to an interesting group of films: the late 1930s epic.

 

they are not hampered by their black and white photography. They're not small in any way whatsoever . it's interesting because in the early thirties- filmmakers conquered sound: and in the late thirties they began to conquer visuals. and even though there may be story elements lacking there are films from the era that are fascinating to watch for their scope, visual sprawl , photography and stunning special effects.

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Little has been discussed about the other racism practiced in Hollywood for years.  That of actors in "yellow face".  Yes, not black face but yellow face.  White actors portraying Asians.  There has been many such instances like Luise Rainer, Paul Muni, Katherine Hepburn and Warner Oland.  Can you think of others?

I can't think of others playing ASIANS, but what you imply WAS a long time hollywood practice.  Even into recent times. 

 

I often joke with my wife about that it was ELI WALLACH, and NOT Cantiflas, who was my FAVORITE Mexican actor!

 

I also remember coming across an old western serial starring BOB STEELE right in the middle of a scene in which Steele was FIST FIGHTING an INDIAN chief, and when the indian's HEADDRESS fell off, I SWEAR the actor was DON DeFORE!  Sure LOOKED like him!

 

The "NOVELTY" of THE JAZZ SINGER WASN'T the SOUND as much as the fact that most of the actors playing JEWS in the movie actually WERE Jews!

 

But, although the movie IS an old one, I read the BOOK "The Good Earth" LONG before I got around to seeing the movie.  And I thought it was a fairly good adaptation.  It was also my wife's late sister's favorite movie( She died way too young--42--of a brain hemmorage in 1990).

 

Anyway, I thought of much of this the other night when on some OTHER channel, I watched LA BAMBA, which starred LOU DIAMOND PHILLIPS, who DOES have a BIT of Spanish in his heritage, but NO Mexican, and he was playing the VERY Mexican Ritchie Valenz.  Could be why co-star ESAI MORALES started his activist movement to get film producers to use actual Latinos to play Latinos in movies.

 

 

Sepiatone

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I agree it's very well done, but it is not necessarily an exception. These people knew what they were doing, probably better than the special effects wizards do today, sitting at computers and pressing buttons. 

 

This is my favorite special effect scene:

 

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Little has been discussed about the other racism practiced in Hollywood for years.  That of actors in "yellow face".  Yes, not black face but yellow face.  White actors portraying Asians.  There has been many such instances like Luise Rainer, Paul Muni, Katherine Hepburn and Warner Oland.  Can you think of others?

 

My twisted mind remembers not too long ago TCM had on an Asian movie expert to discuss this while viewing movies with white actors playing Asians. Boris Karloff, Edward g Robinson, and others were portrayed.Now the reason given was fairly simple, the lead parts were Asian and but they used big name actors to sell tickets, regardless of what role it was. The Eddie G movie was The Hatchet Man where he is in Chinatown as the guy who delivers justice with a hatchet.

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You are correct, MovieMadness - TCM does an annual spotlight of "racism in film" and it was "Asians in Film" one year. They showed movies about Asian culture as well as highlighting Asian actors & actresses. That year's focus jut about made me apoplectic, I had never realized how badly Asians were portrayed in film until seeing them as a whole.

 

The year TCM focused on Native Americans in film was also notable. Several great examples of films made by and featuring Native American culture were shown alongside horrifying examples of the "white man's" take on it.

 

I enjoy this series very much, I really hope they cycle through these examples again....obviously, they are missed by some & forgotten by others after a few years.

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You are correct, MovieMadness - TCM does an annual spotlight of "racism in film" and it was "Asians in Film" one year. They showed movies about Asian culture as well as highlighting Asian actors & actresses. That year's focus jut about made me apoplectic, I had never realized how badly Asians were portrayed in film until seeing them as a whole.

 

The year TCM focused on Native Americans in film was also notable. Several great examples of films made by and featuring Native American culture were shown alongside horrifying examples of the "white man's" take on it.

 

I enjoy this series very much, I really hope they cycle through these examples again....obviously, they are missed by some & forgotten by others after a few years.

 

Well there are two very different topics as it relates to "Asians in Films".    One is what MovieMadness mentions;  non Asians being cast as Asian characters.    To me this was just a logical business decision as it relates to the casting of any actor for any part;  cast the actors one has under contract that are likely to draw the most viewers.    Whether the actor is 'right' for the part (based on race,  their screen persona, etc.) is a secondary consideration.      I don't find this objectionable except from an artistic POV.  i.e. the actor just can't pull off the characterization.   

 

The second topic is showing Asians character (regardless of the race of the actor) in a negative light typically based on stereotypes.  This I find objectionable.  

 

Note that Mickey Rooney's character in Breakfast at Tiffany's is a good example of both.

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Well there are two very different topics as it relates to "Asians in Films".    One is what MovieMadness mentions;  non Asians being cast as Asian characters.    To me this was just a logical business decision as it relates to the casting of any actor for any part;  cast the actors one has under contract that are likely to draw the most viewers.    Whether the actor is 'right' for the part (based on race,  their screen persona, etc.) is a secondary consideration.      I don't find this objectionable except from an artistic POV.  i.e. the actor just can't pull off the characterization.   

 

The second topic is showing Asians character (regardless of the race of the actor) in a negative light typically based on stereotypes.  This I find objectionable.  

 

Note that Mickey Rooney's character in Breakfast at Tiffany's is a good example of both.

 

At the time THE GOOD EARTH was made the Hollywood studios  would not cast actors of different races in romantic roles. So if a white male was cast as an Asian husband, a white female had to be cast as his Asian wife.

At one point I think an Asian actress was considered for the role of O-Lan, but once Paul Muni was cast as W-a-n-g Lung casting an Asian to play his wife could not happen. 

W-a-n-g's sons in the movie were played by Asian actors, but W-a-n-g's mistress and wife were played by white actors.  

 

PS. Apparently W a n g is a forbidden word on this board. 

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At the time THE GOOD EARTH was made the Hollywood studios  would not cast actors of different races in romantic roles. So if a white male was cast as an Asian husband, a white female had to be cast as his Asian wife.

At one point I think an Asian actress was considered for the role of O-Lan, but once Paul Muni was cast as W-a-n-g Lung casting an Asian to play his wife could not happen. 

W-a-n-g's sons in the movie were played by Asian actors, but W-a-n-g's mistress and wife were played by white actors.  

 

PS. Apparently W a n g is a forbidden word on this board. 

 

Well of course the reason you mention for NOT hiring a non-white actor is objectionable to me.     

 

But for The Good Earth,  casting Muni with Rainer,  since both won the best actor Oscar the prior year,   made sense from a marketing perspective.      So after casting Muni,  even IF one could hire an Asian actress to play his wife (could in the sense that society would have accept that),  from a business perspective casting Rainer was a sound move.  

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