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Son of the Gods (1930)

TV-PG | | Drama, Romance | 9 March 1930 (USA)
A Chinese posing as an American goes to Monte Carlo where he falls in love with Alanna, who later goes berserk upon learning his true identity.

Director:

Frank Lloyd (uncredited)

Writers:

Rex Beach (story), Bradley King (screen version) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Richard Barthelmess ... Sam Lee
Constance Bennett ... Allana
Anders Randolf ... Wagner
E. Alyn Warren ... Lee Ying
Claude King ... Bathurst
Frank Albertson ... Kicker
King Hou Chang ... Moy
Mildred Van Dorn Mildred Van Dorn ... Eileen
Barbara Leonard ... Mabel
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Storyline

A Chinese posing as an American goes to Monte Carlo where he falls in love with Alanna, who later goes berserk upon learning his true identity.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Hailed everywhere as the finest screen achievement in twenty years. Better than "Sally". Stronger than "Gold Diggers." Too big to describe. You must see it, and hear it, and live it. Lavish scenes in Technicolor. (Print Ad- Lafayette Ledger, ((Lafayette, Minn.)) 9 May 1930)

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

TV-PG | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Mandarin | French

Release Date:

9 March 1930 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

De zoon der goden See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Vitaphone)

Color:

Color (2-strip Technicolor) (one sequence)| Black and White

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The novel of the same title upon which this film was based was serialized in Hearst's International-Cosmopolitan magazine from October, 1928 to March, 1929. See more »

Quotes

Eileen: How are you?
Sam Lee: Fine, Eileen. And how have you been?
Eileen: Puttin' on weight. Your father doesn't work his secretary hard enough.
See more »

Alternate Versions

First National Pictures, Inc. also released this film as a silent, for which Bradley King also wrote the titles. See more »

Soundtracks

Le Salon Musical (Fascination)
(1902) (uncredited)
Music by Fermo Dante Marchetti (1902)
Played as dance music at the casino
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A step forward
19 March 2018 | by gbill-74877See all my reviews

Oh, what a cringe-inducing moment it is, to see Constance Bennett's face contort in shock and anger when she discovers her new lover (Richard Barthelmess) is "Chinese", and then goes and strikes him repeatedly in public. There is some solace in her being suitably apologetic afterwards, getting chastised, and then still loving him, but the film's real triumph is in treating Asian-Americans with dignity, and showing the hypocrisy of white people. How fantastic is it when early on he says "They are liars and hypocrites. Their religion teaches love and brotherhood and equality, but they worship money and prejudice!"

Now you may be thinking as I did, Richard Barthelmess is Asian? And this is one of the film's weaknesses, as is E. Alyn Warren (another Caucasian) playing his father. You'll have to bear with that part, and forgive the film for not putting Asian actors in primary roles, though in Barthelmess's case, it is eventually explained. If you can do that, you may find it refreshing that the characters (including the servants) speak eloquently, and have a sense of class in the face of the racism of others. It's far from perfect, but its heart is in the right place, respecting the culture, and pointing out one's character is more important than one's race ("love knows no barriers"). Another great quote, practically reading the mind of the viewer 88 years later, is when he questions "Why should I be glad..." to be Caucasian, and not Asian.

Now, how it resolves itself takes away from a little of the message, but what a difference this one is from others from the time which were hyping 'yellow peril'. It is a little creaky in places, with slow and stilted dialogue, but Bennett livens things up a bit with her playful presence and defiance of her father. "Take me in your arms, and dance with me," she implores Barthelmess, and then later "Kiss me, and don't talk." It's an average film and certainly not going to blow you away, but I bumped it up a bit for the step it took in the racial dialogue, even if it can't be judged by today's standards.


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