The plot here is: 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.Hepburn, thankfully, is less mannered and less on display than usual - her idea of being Chinese amuses now - and as a wartime drama it holds the attention. An interesting curiosity now then.
The later 40s shows the dream factory in full force with those favourites like A LETTER TO 3 WIVES, ROADHOUSE, THE HEIRESS etc and now A DATE WITH JUDY in 1948. Another 40s dreamworld where the middle-classes have roomy comfy homes and domestic help - yes its a coloured maid here, as Jane Powell as the perky teen Judy sings at the local high school, is friends with Carol - Elizabeth Taylor, the local rich girl, and worries about her parents' marriage as it seems father (Wallace Beery) is having an affair with a woman at his office. She though is Carmen Miranda who is teaching him how to rhumba to Xaviar Cugat's music at his wedding anniversary! Carmen is a bit subdued here but adds some sparkle, Jane Powell trills some songs like "Its a Most Unusual Day"; young Robert Stack is the new guy in town working in the drugstore whom both girls have their eyes on. 16 year old Elizabeth Taylor is marvellous here, patenting her future roles as the nice rich girl with some steel when it comes to getting her man. A Joe Pasternak production directed by Richard Thorpe, it is a pleasing discovery now. Perfect late 40s entertainment, particularly when Wallace Beery shows off his rhumba skills and the girls get their beaus, and of course with Leon Ames as another paterfamilias who learns the importance of his family. And of course teens then were just younger versions of their parents until the '50s when teenagers were suddenly invented and got their own culture as rock'n'roll arrived!