Son of the Gods

Son of the Gods
Directed by Frank Lloyd
Produced by Frank Lloyd
Written by Bradley King
based on the novel by Rex Beach
Starring Richard Barthelmess
Constance Bennett
Frank Albertson
Cinematography Ernest Haller (Technicolor)
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Release dates
  • March 9, 1930 (1930-03-09)
Running time
93 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Son of the Gods is a 1930 American pre-Code romantic drama film with Technicolor sequences, produced and released by First National Pictures, a subsidiary of Warner Bros. It was adapted from the novel of the same name by Rex Beach. Richard Barthelmess and Constance Bennett star as a couple in love who have a falling-out when she discovers that, though he looks Caucasian, he is actually Chinese.


Sam Lee (Barthelmess) is the son of a Chinese merchant, Lee Ying, in San Francisco's Chinatown. He is tolerated in white dominated social circles because of his wealth. One day, he leaves college after being insulted by three racist white girls who think they are too good to be seen going out with a "dirty yellow Chinaman". He takes a tour around the world and ends up in the Riviera, where he is introduced to Allana Wagner (Bennett).

Allana falls madly in love with Sam and refuses to listen to anything about his background. Sam is afraid to pursue a relationship with her until she tells him that she used to date a man from India and that she is open to interracial relationships. Sam then becomes Allana's boyfriend and everything goes well for a while. One day, however, Allana discovers that Sam is Chinese. She flies into a rage and lashes him in public with her riding crop.

Heartbroken, Sam now returns home, only to find that his father is on his deathbed. Sam now discovers that his parents were both white and that he had been orphaned as a child. Allana, unable to quench her love for Sam, returns to the United States in order to find him. She declares her love for Sam before he has a chance to tell her that he is indeed white. The film ends with the lovers happily reunited.



The film only survives in black and white. One reel was originally in Technicolor, but no color prints seem to have survived.[1] This reel tells the story of how Sam was orphaned and adopted by the Chinese man he thought was his father. Current prints present this originally color sequence in sepia-tone.

See also


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