'Who wants to see a picture about Chinese farmers?' asked LB Mayer of his production chief Irving Thalberg. Thalberg had asked the same question about a Civil War picture called Gone With the Wind. The answer in both cases was millions, but in the case of The Good Earth the reasons are quite bewildering. A kind of 'Lychees of Wrath', it's a typically lumbering, cautious, overblown Thalberg project, saved by Rainer's genuinely moving, Oscar-winning portrayal of Chinese peasantry, and by an immensely spectacular storm of locusts. Thalberg died during the production, and Mayer accorded him a special tribute on the credits, the only time that the name of the last tycoon appeared on a film. (From the novel by Pearl Buck.) ATu.