The Good Earth

MGM prestige plodder (1937) based on Pearl Buck's novel, with Luise Rainer impersonating a long-suffering Chinese peasant woman and winning an Oscar for her efforts. The noble strain killed off producer Irving Thalberg and so exhausted director Sidney Franklin (Wild Orchids, The Guardsman) that he didn't work again for 20 years, but Hollywood got a chance to show off some industrial muscle (with floods, locust plagues, Karl Freund's sepia cinematography, etc) and everyone went home morally uplifted, if not quite entertained. Critical opinion has not been kind, but studio excavators may find much to admire. With Paul Muni, Walter Connolly, Tilly Losch, and Keye Luke.

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