A strong cast (with taped eyelids) render good performances in this lengthy film which is based on Pearl Buck's best-seller about the wartime atrocities leveled by the Japanese against the Chinese. Jade (Katharine Hepburn) is the aggressive and idealistic wife of Lao Er (Turhan Bey).
Fearing imminent Japanese invasion, Jade persuades her husband to escape to the mountains to work in a munitions factory, although her father-in-law, Ling Tan (Walter Huston), refuses to believe that the Japanese will attack. En route they stay with Ling Tan's son-in-law, Wu Lien (Akim Tamiroff),
a well-to-do merchant who slavishly collaborates with local Japanese troops. When Jade lea...