#ThrowbackThursday: Luise Ranier in “The Good Earth,” 1937

Luise Ranier, 'The Good Earth' (Rotten Tomatoes)

Luise Ranier, ‘The Good Earth’ (Rotten Tomatoes)

In 1937, actress Luise Ranier starred in a film adaptation of Pearl S. Buck’s novel “The Good Earth.” The plot centers on  the rise and fall of a Chinese family’s fortunes. Ranier played O-Lan, the family matriarch.

Ranier, who was born and spent her childhood in Germany, was Caucasian.

She became one of the first instances of Hollywood’s whitewashing: casting a white actor in a non-white role. Thus began the film industry’s troubled history with diversity on screen. But I guess it worked out for Ranier: she won an Oscar for Best Actress.

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