Dragon Seed

Synopsis: Ling Tang and his family live on his prosperous farm in rural Southern China and have not yet felt the impact of the Japanese invasion in the North. Tang's two oldest sons, Lao Ta Tan and Lao Er Tan are married and hard working while youngest son Lao San Tan remains a free spirit. Er's wife Jade is also willfully unconventional and desires to exercises her literacy skills by reading books, a most unfeminine practice in 1930's China. Tang's only daughter is married to Wu Lien, a city merchant who profits from selling Japanese goods. When the dreaded invasion reaches their village, the family is scattered as the sons join the resistance while Wu Lien survives by collaborating with the enemy.
Genre: Drama, History, War
Production: Warner Home Video
148 min

This is the valley of Ling...

...as it was in the early summer of 1937.

The people who lived here were farmers.

They'd heard there was a world beyond

the hills that bounded their little valley...

...but as yet, no one had climbed

those hills to see for himself.

Perhaps it is because

they were more fortunate than most.

The land was rich,

and their bellies were full.

On this farm, lived Ling Tan

and his family.

And they were among the most fortunate.

They were neither too wealthy,

nor too poor.

And they were greatly respected

in the nearby village.

They owned a strong house...

...and tilled the soil

that belonged to their ancestors.

They were both good and bad,

both wise and foolish...

...and sometimes all these things

at the same moment.

And therefore, they were very much

like such families in any other land.

It was time for the rice seedlings

to be planted...

...and Ling Tan was eager

for but one thing:

To finish as much of the work

as could be done...

...before the sun was gone from the sky.

But Ling's first and second sons

were eager for many other things as well.

For they were young.


- Is that your mother?

- Yes, my father.

Come, old man. I want to speak to you.

Time enough to speak with women

when the sun is gone.

I know you hear me, you old turnip.

You two do not stop for anything

until the field is done.

Ease your heart about that, Father.

What is it, old woman? What is it?

You grow deaf?

Must I bawl like an ox to make you hear?

There is work

and you call me from the fields.

Come. Come.

You work too hard and too long.

You have sons to labor for you.

What nonsense is this?

I'm not yet so feeble.

You're no longer young

and you must not strain.

I do not strain myself.

I'm as much a man as I ever was.

Come now. Wash your legs.

The very weight of the mud

can tire a man of your great age.

Well, perhaps a younger wife with a softer

will might be added to a man's household.

Bring her on, old man.

I shall have someone

to help me with my work.

And you shall be in your grave

before your time.

I think I would survive.

I may try it to see.

What of those teeth marks

behind your right ear, old turnip?

A hill tiger bit me.

It was a long time ago.

I was the hill tiger.

You made the mistake of treating me

like a tame house cat.

It could happen again.

Not so long as the scars remain

to remind me.

Is it not good with me here?

Yes, it is, but a man with his juices

still in him should not so indulge himself.

- I should go back to the fields.

- The field will be finished without you.

Here. If you must be useful,

help me prepare these ducks for market.

Ducks. That is woman's work.

If heaven sends a woman too much work,

heaven will also send help to do it.

How is it, old woman, that heaven's will

and yours are always the same?

The grass is good in the hills

and the ox grows fat.

Which is the ox and which is our brother?

Is our brother dreaming?

No, that vacant look

is his usual expression.

You are very dirty.

Have you been playing in the mud?

We have. It was very pleasant.

Why do you not join us tomorrow?

Oh, you ask too much.

Where you find hard work,

you will not find our brother.

There is work for all. For those with strong

backs and for those with strong minds.

If the mind is strong,

the back need not bend.

Nor need the feet get muddy.

He has no mind, only a temper.

Brother, your mind is absent these days.

Why is this?

I think, and my thoughts trouble me.

What is a brother for

if not to share your troubles?

Well, then, here is one of the things:

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Marguerite Roberts

Marguerite Roberts (21 September 1905 – 17 February 1989) was an American screenwriter, one of the highest paid in the 1930s. After she and her husband John Sanford refused to testify in 1951 before the House Un-American Activities Committee, she was blacklisted for nine years and unable to get work in Hollywood. She was hired again in 1962 by Columbia Pictures. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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    "Dragon Seed" Scripts.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 6 Feb. 2023. <https://www.scripts.com/script/dragon_seed_7241>.

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