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Son of the Gods

1930 1h 30m Drama List
Reviews 62% Audience Score Fewer than 50 Ratings Racism draws together a young couple (Richard Barthelmess, Constance Bennett) of differing backgrounds. Read More Read Less

Audience Reviews

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Audience Member The film is mediocre. After a disappointing beginning, it plods its weary way through episodes that Barthelmess is not genius enough who can turn to the character around in an uninspired narrative. It tells the story of a couple in love who have a falling out when she discovers instead of being white he is Chinese. Rated 2.5 out of 5 stars 02/08/23 Full Review Audience Member 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. Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 01/13/23 Full Review Audience Member good early talkie dealing with race Rated 2.5 out of 5 stars 01/21/23 Full Review Audience Member not bad pre-code early talkie Rated 2.5 out of 5 stars 02/25/23 Full Review Read all reviews
Son of the Gods

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Cast & Crew

Movie Info

Synopsis Racism draws together a young couple (Richard Barthelmess, Constance Bennett) of differing backgrounds.
Director
Frank Lloyd
Production Co
First National Pictures
Genre
Drama
Original Language
English
Release Date (DVD)
Feb 2, 2010
Runtime
1h 30m