Seed (1931 film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||John M. Stahl|
|Produced by||Carl Laemmle Jr.
John M. Stahl
|Written by||Gladys Lehman
Based on a story by Charles G. Norris
|Music by||Heinz Roemheld|
|Edited by||Ted J. Kent
|Distributed by||Universal Pictures|
|May 14, 1931|
Bart Carter has sacrificed a writing career so he can support his wife Peggy and their five children by working as a clerk in a New York City publishing house. When his former girlfriend Mildred Bronson, a literary agent who has been working in the Paris office, returns to the States, she arranges for Bart to draw his regular salary while working on a novel. Because his home life is so chaotic, Bart writes at Mildred's apartment during the day and frequently stays for dinner, and the two soon discover their old feelings for each other have been revived.
Bart's novel is published, and when Seed becomes a critical and commercial success, he abandons his family and moves to France with Mildred. Peggy opens a dress shop and lives with the children in an apartment above the store.
A decade later, the now-married Bart and Mildred return to New York. His grown children are delighted to see their father, who wishes to make amends for having left them. He suggests enrolling his daughter Margaret in finishing school, sending the twin boys to Harvard University, finding employment for his oldest son, and having the youngest boy live with him and Mildred. At her children's urging Peggy reluctantly agrees, although she feels she is losing them. Mildred assures her they will return to her one day, whereas she believes their renewed relationship with their father will place her own future with Bart in jeopardy.
- John Boles as Bart Carter
- Frances Dade as Nancy
- Bette Davis as Margaret Carter
- Raymond Hackett as Junior Carter
- ZaSu Pitts as Jennie
- Genevieve Tobin as Mildred
- Richard Tucker as Bliss
- Jack Willis as Dicky Carter
- Lois Wilson as Peggy Carter
- Dick Winslow as Johnny Carter
- Bill Willis as Danny Carter
- Dickie Moore as young Johnny Carter
- Helen Parrish as young Margaret Carter
Director John M. Stahl cast Bette Davis as Margaret Carter after seeing her in the studio commissary. It proved to be the smallest role of her career, and in later years she recalled, ""If you blinked for a moment you would have missed me. I should have joined the extra's union."
Mordaunt Hall of The New York Times felt the plot was "undoubtedly an interesting theme, but in the film it merely results in being an adult idea offered in adolescent form." He thought John Boles was "too placid to be convincing" and John M. Stahl's direction was "unimaginative." He concluded, "It is a lethargic and often dull production, in spite of the good acting by both Genevieve Tobin as Mildred and Miss Wilson as Peggy, Zazu Pitts as a servant and passable performances by some of the other players."