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Directed by John M. Stahl

United States 1931 93 mins. In English

Stahl, a master of the melodrama often situated as the proto-Douglas Sirk, made his second picture of 1931 with the quietly shocking Seed, which like 1932’s Back Street dealt openly with infidelity. Co-produced with Universal head Carl Laemmle Jr., Stahl’s vision of the complexity of American family life during the Depression simmers behind the story of Bart Carter (John Boles), an aging married-with-kids writer who’s at a dead end. Enter old flame Mildred (Genevieve Tobin), who seeks to free Bart from his doldrums, offering him a great career opportunity. But when their success and Bart’s old life begin to slowly collide, can happiness last for both of them? Bette Davis appears in a small role—one of her first—as Bart’s eldest child.

35mm print courtesy of UCLA Film & Television Archive.

The Northwest Film Center recognizes and honors the Indigenous peoples of this region on whose ancestral lands the museum now stands. These include the Willamette Tumwater, Clackamas, Kathlemet, Molalla, Multnomah and Watlala Chinook Peoples and the Tualatin Kalapuya who today are part of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, and many other Native communities who made their homes along the Columbia River. We also want to recognize that Portland today is a community of many diverse Native peoples who continue to live and work here. We respectfully acknowledge and honor all Indigenous communities—past, present, future—and are grateful for their ongoing and vibrant presence.