Synopsis by Hal Erickson
One of the few Chinese films of the 1930s to receive American distribution, Song of China was brought to the States by Douglas MacLean, a former comedian turned producer. The story, which spans three generations, takes place in the 19th century BC. As an old man breathes his last, he advises his grandchildren to hold onto the values and traditions of their ancestors -- specifically, to honor and respect one's elders and to take care of them in time of need. The grandkids try to adhere to these values as they grow into adulthood, only to discover that their own children are possessed of a rebellious streak. The family unit slowly disintegrates, often with tragic results. Things come full circle when several of the wayward children return to their now aged and enfeebled parents, who dispense the same advice handed down to them by their patriarch so many years before. The background music heard in Song in China was provided by the Shanghai Students' Chorus, who otherwise do not appear in the film.