‘The Good Earth with Rodney Kageyama

movieposterFilm: The Good Earth (1937)
Not Rated
Directed by: 
Sidney Franklin
Written by: 
Talbot Jennings, Tess Slesinger 
(based on the novel by Pearl S. Buck)
Starring: 
Paul Muni as Wang Lung
Luise Rainer as O-Lan
Walter Connelly as Uncle
Tilly Losch as Lotus

By Marilyn Ferdinand of Ferdy on Films

 

Pre-screening memories: Marilyn makes her return to Natsukashi after she recalled a particular scene in this Oscar-winning film with great clarity. Unfortunately, that scene never actually appeared in the film at all.

good earth1Since this film spins the tale of a Chinese family who falls upon hard times — and yet every lead character is of European descent — we thought we would take this opportunity to discuss race issues of early American cinema.

So we invited a favorite guest of the site, Mr. Rodney Kageyama (who previously joined us for his thoughts of co-starring in the 1986 film Gung Ho), to join us. Not only is Mr. Kageyama the founder of one of California’s first Asian-American theaters, he has joined many panel discussions on this issue and, in particular, this very film.

good earth2What followed was a friendly, insightful, funny, and revealing chat about Asian roles in early cinema, and look at what, if any, progress has been made in the half-century since.

New memories: For the rest of the conversation, you will just have to listen to the podcast. But we also wanted to thank both Marilyn and Rodney for returning to our little broadcast, and we cannot wait to have them back for more.

Dowload Natsukashi’s The Good Earth episode right here,

Or use our handly little in-house player thingy:

Our featured guest: Rodney Kageyama

rodney_kageyamaYou can check out Mr. Kageyama’s bio at our previous posting of Gung Ho right here. What we had failed to mention, though, is perhaps one of his most important roles, the one of a survivor of Non-Hodgkin lymphoma in 2008.

As a docent for the Japanese American National Museum, he has a vast knowledge of history from an Asian-American perspective, and we loved the opportunity to speak with him again.

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