Tuesday, December 6, 2005

Review – Dragon Seed

What an odd mix of contrary elements. This production is at once laudatory of and condescending to the peasant farmers of China. The first half hour or so is an endless parade of country bumpkin clichés with a fair amount of racist stereotyping (compounded by the fact that almost all the key characters are played by white actors). But once the Japanese soldiers show up to disrupt this rural idyll, this settles into a standard “This is the enemy” propaganda piece from World War Two. The script is stiff and the acting likewise. Katherine Hepburn’s portrayal of a young, idealistic woman is especially disappointing, so rigid that in places she seems to be concentrating so hard on being enigmatic that she actually appears to be blind. Or maybe it was just the eye makeup. Beyond a few interesting dips into socialism, this movie is probably best appreciated as a creature of its time. Mildly amusing

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