Dragon Seed (1944)

Genres - Drama  |   Sub-Genres - War Drama  |   Release Date - Jul 20, 1944 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 145 min.  |   Countries - United States  |   MPAA Rating - NR
  • AllMovie Rating
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

Share on

Synopsis by Hal Erickson

This lavish, 145-minute cinemadaptation of the Pearl Buck best-seller Dragon Seed was intended by MGM as a followup to the studio's successful film version of Buck's The Good Earth. In true Hollywood fashion, the Chinese protagonists are all played by Caucasian actors, with fascinating if not always convincing results. When a peaceful Chinese village is invaded by the Japanese prior to WW2, the men elect to adopt a peaceful, don't-rock-the-boat attitude towards their conquerors-and it is understood that the women will stoically acquiesce as well. But Jade (Katharine Hepburn), a headstrong young woman, intends to stand up to the Japanese whether her husband Lao Er (Turhan Bey) approves or not. She even goes so far as to learn to read and to handle a weapon, so that she may properly equipped for both psychological and physical combat. Jade's attitude spreads to the rest of the village, convincing even the staunchest of male traditional that the Japanese can be defeated only by offering a strong united front-male and female. Alas, there are a few Quislings in their midst, notably avaricious merchant Wu Lien (Akim Tamiroff), who learns all too late the terrible cost of collaboration. While it seems odd to see so many non-Orientals-Walter Huston, Agnes Moorehead, Hurd Hatfield, J. Carroll Naish-in the major roles, Dragon Seed manages to retain its power and entertainment value even 50 years after the fact (Incidentally, there are a few genuine Chinese in the cast-most of them playing Japanese!)



war, atrocity, invasion, military, occupation [military], peasant, village