BrianRxm Coins in Movies 33/115
The Good Earth (1937)
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The 1937 MGM film "The Good Earth" shows several Chinese silver dollars of different types.
 
The film stars Paul Muni and Luise Rainer as Chinese peasant farmers in the years before and after the
1911 revolution which toppled the Manchu rulers and resulted in the Republic of China.
 
It was based on the best selling novel by Pearl Buck.
 
China used silver dollars from Mexico and also the Empire and provinces struck coins.
The Good Earth
1. Title
 
Wang owns a small plot of land somewhere in northern China.
His father has made an arrangement for Wang to marry O-Lan, a kitchen worker.
He goes to the town to marry the woman.
 
The Good Earth
2. Wang and O-Lan marry
 
Wang brings her back to the farm.
 
The Good Earth
3. O-Lan
 
She proves to be a hard worker and later delivers a baby boy, which makes Wang proud and happy.
 
The Good Earth
4. Baby with rice
 
The baby plays with rice and then Wang's hands are shown handling the family money which is in
the form of Chinese silver dollars of several different types.
 
The Good Earth
5. China Sun Yat Sen dollar
 
A Sun Yat Sen silver dollar appears, these were made in 1934, the 23rd year of the Republic of China.
An obvious anachronism as the film scene is set before 1912 when the Republic was founded.
 
The Good Earth
6. Szechuan Province dollar obverse
 
The Szechuan Province dollars were made from 1901 to 1909.
 
The Good Earth
7. Chihli Province Pei Yang Arsenal dollar reverse
 
The Chihli Province Pei Yang Arsenal dollars were made from 1896 to 1908.
This one is dated 1898 (Year 24 of the Emperor).
 
The Good Earth
8. Szechuan Province dollar reverse
 
The reverse of the above Szechuan dollar appears.
 
The Good Earth
9. China Empire "dragon" dollar in the bag
 
The China Empire dragon dollars were only made in 1911, the last year of the empire.
 
Wang has dollars from all over China.
 
Wang prospers and begins buying land from other farmers, and O-Lan produces another son
and a daughter.
 
A famine occurs and Wang needs money to buy food for his family.
 
The Good Earth
10. Offer for the land
 
Wang is offered a small amount of money for his land but refuses to sell.
 
The family boards a train to a city to the south.
 
The Good Earth
11. On the train
 
The family lives in a camp and Wang works at menial jobs while O-Lan and the children beg.
 
The 1911 revolution occurs and Empire and Republic troops battle in the city followed by riots.
 
The Good Earth
12. Town riot
 
During a riot, O-Lan is trapped in a wealthy man's house and later finds a hoard of jewelry stones.
 
O-Lan gives the stones to Wang and he gives her back two pearls.
He uses the money from the stones to return to his farm.
After several years he becomes wealthy again and his sons are grown and assisting with the
family business.
 
The Good Earth
13. Sons counting money
 
Piles of silver dollars are shown on the table.
 
Wang has become a local businessman and hosts a business meeting.
 
The Good Earth
14. Business meeting
 
Wang, with his wealth, decides to marry a second "trophy" wife, Lotus, a singer from a nightclub.
 
The Good Earth
15. Lotus
 
He asks O-Lan for her pearls to pay for the new wife.
 
He then discovers that his younger son and the new wife have been together, he kicks her out
and orders the son to leave.
 
A worker shows Wang something which will be a great threat to his business.
 
The Good Earth
16. Showing the threat
 
A huge swarm of locusts (grasshoppers) is going to arrive, and Wang's older son, who has
graduated from an agricultural college, suggests that they can be fought using fire.
 
The Good Earth
17. Fire against locusts
 
The locusts finally leave and Wang has some of his crops left.
 
Wang reconciles with his sons and decides to go back to being a farmer.
 
O-Lan has become ill and Wang sees that she is dying.
 
The Good Earth
18. Wang returns O-Lan's pearls
 
Wang returns O-Lan's pearls and she passes on.
 
The Good Earth
19. The end
Notes:
 
Cast:
Paul Muni as Wang
Luise Rainer as O-Lan
Tilly Losch as Lotus
Walter Connolly as Uncle
Charley Grapewin as Old Father
 
Directors: Sidney Franklin, Victor Fleming
Writers: Talbot Jennings, Tess Slesinger, Pearl Buck (novel)
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