Dragon Seed (1944) - Rotten Tomatoes

Dragon Seed (1944)

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Movie Info

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!)

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Cast

Walter Huston
as Ling Tan
Turhan Bey
as Lao Er Tan
Aline MacMahon
as Mrs. Ling Tan
Agnes Moorehead
as 3rd Cousin's Wife
Henry Travers
as 3rd Cousin
Robert Lewis
as Capt. Sato
J. Carroll Naish
as Japanese Kitchen Overseer
Jacqueline de Wit
as Mrs. Wu Lien
Clarence Lung
as 4th Cousin
Paul E. Burns
as Neighbor Shen
Ted Hecht
as Maj. Yohagi
Abner Biberman
as Capt. Yasuda
Leonard Mudie
as Old Peddler
Charles Lung
as Japanese Diplomat
Benson Fong
as Student
Philip Van Zandt
as Japanese Guard
Al Hill
as Japanese Officer
Alex Havier
as Japanese Soldier
J. Alex Havier
as Japanese Soldier
Philip Ahn
as Leader of City People
Roland Got
as Speaker with Movies
Robbie Lee
as Young Farmer
Frank Puglia
as Old Clerk
Claire Du Brey
as Hysterical Woman
Lee Tung Foo
as Innkeeper
Jay Novello
as Japanese Soldier
Leonard Strong
as Japanese Official
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Critic Reviews for Dragon Seed

All Critics (3)

Quite moving, strong drama featuring Kate Hepburn.

April 20, 2008 | Rating: 4/5

One of MGM's worst melodramas of the 40s and a low point in the career of Hepburn, here miscast as a young and alert Chinese woman. Propaganda picture was made to please the government (and its Chinese allies) but by today's standards it's racist.

May 6, 2007 | Rating: D | Full Review…

That Caucasian actors are cast in the primary Oriental roles greatly detracts from the film's authenticity.

July 27, 2006 | Rating: B- | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Dragon Seed

Katharine Hepburn as an oriental? You've been warned.

jay nixon
jay nixon

Super Reviewer

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