Walter Connolly

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The Good Earth Review


Good
Imagine the uproar if The Good Earth had been made recently. Hell, people cried foul of Memoirs of a Geisha because it used Chinese actors to play Japanese roles. The Good Earth's stars were born in California and Germany.

Shockingly, surprisingly, stars Paul Muni and Luise Rainer pull it off. He's Wang Lung, a simple Chinese farmer. She's O-Lan, his even more simple wife. This adaptation of the Pearl Buck novel has the pair surviving through an epic struggle against poverty and nature, building their farm up from nothing (with O-Lan helping to bring in the harvest the night before she gives birth), then losing everything, slumming on the streets of the city, finding a cache of jewels during a riot, building it all up again, and facing a family crisis when Wang Lung decides to buy a second, younger wife. Hey, it's old world China. In the end, our heroes have to do battle against a plague of locusts. Locusts!

Continue reading: The Good Earth Review

Twentieth Century Review


OK
John Barrymore shines as the stubborn and eccentric theater director in this screwball comedy, a man who comes unhinged (and he's not fully hinged to begin with) when his leading lady (Carole Lombard) splits the show. He chases her across country on the fabled Twentieth Century train, with loads of absurdities on the way. Funny, but it gets too repetitious in the last act and slowly crumbles into the relatively obscure minor work it has become today.
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