IMDb > The Bitter Tea of General Yen (1933)
The Bitter Tea of General Yen
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The Bitter Tea of General Yen (1933) More at IMDbPro »

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Overview

User Rating:
7.1/10   2,244 votes »
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Down 17% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Director:
Writers:
Grace Zaring Stone (from the story by)
Edward E. Paramore Jr. (screen play)
Contact:
View company contact information for The Bitter Tea of General Yen on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
6 January 1933 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Tagline:
They found a love they dared not touch!
Plot:
A Chinese warlord and an engaged Christian missionary fall in love. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
User Reviews:
Despite the usual horrible casting, this is a very good film! See more (50 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Barbara Stanwyck ... Megan

Nils Asther ... General Yen
Toshia Mori ... Mah-Li

Walter Connolly ... Jones
Gavin Gordon ... Bob
Lucien Littlefield ... Mr. Jacobson
Richard Loo ... Captain Li

Helen Jerome Eddy ... Miss Reed
Emmett Corrigan ... Bishop Harkness
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Jessie Arnold ... Mrs. Blake (uncredited)
Clara Blandick ... Mrs. Jackson (uncredited)
Robert Bolder ... Missionary (uncredited)
Nora Cecil ... Missionary (uncredited)
Wong Chung ... Chinese Officer (uncredited)
Knute Erickson ... Dr. Hansen (uncredited)
Willie Fung ... Officer (uncredited)
Adda Gleason ... Mrs. Bowman (uncredited)
Ella Hall ... Mrs. Amelia Hansen (uncredited)
Daisy Jefferson ... Mrs. Warden (uncredited)
Arthur Johnson ... Dr. Schuler (uncredited)
Tetsu Komai ... Gen. Yen's Messenger (uncredited)
Eddie Lee ... Chinese Soldier (uncredited)
Milton Lee ... Telegrapher (uncredited)
Lillian Leighton ... Missionary (uncredited)
Harriet Lorraine ... Missionary (uncredited)
Doris Louellyn ... Mrs. Meigs (uncredited)
Martha Mattox ... Miss Avery (uncredited)
Arthur Millett ... Mr. Pettis (uncredited)
Moy Ming ... Dr. Lin (uncredited)
Miller Newman ... Dr. Mott (uncredited)
Robert Wayne ... Rev. Bostwick (uncredited)
Ray Young ... Engineer (uncredited)

Directed by
Frank Capra  (as Frank R. Capra)
 
Writing credits
Grace Zaring Stone (from the story by)

Edward E. Paramore Jr. (screen play) (as Edward Paramore)

Produced by
Frank Capra .... producer (uncredited)
Walter Wanger .... producer (uncredited)
 
Original Music by
W. Franke Harling (musical score) (as W. Frank Harling)
 
Cinematography by
Joseph Walker (photography)
 
Film Editing by
Edward Curtiss (film editor) (as Edward Curtis)
 
Costume Design by
Robert Kalloch (uncredited)
Edward Stevenson (uncredited)
 
Makeup Department
Norbert A. Myles .... makeup artist (uncredited)
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Charles C. Coleman .... assistant director (uncredited)
 
Sound Department
Edward Bernds .... sound engineer (uncredited)
 
Other crew
Harry Cohn .... president: Columbia Pictures Corporation
Gene Lewis .... dialogue director (uncredited)
 
Crew verified as complete


Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
Runtime:
88 min
Country:
Language:
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Western Electric Noiseless Recording)
Certification:
South Korea:15 (2007) | USA:Approved | USA:TV-PG (TV rating)

Did You Know?

Trivia:
Chinese officials in Washington, D.C. complained about the depiction of the treatment of war prisoners in this film (which were toned down a bit) and some dehumanizing language about the Chinese people, such as "Human life is the cheapest thing in China," (which remains in the film).See more »
Quotes:
Megan Davis:The subtlety of you Orientals is very much overestimated.See more »
Movie Connections:
Featured in Frank Capra's American Dream (1997) (TV)See more »
Soundtrack:
Bridal Chorus (Here Comes the Bride)See more »

FAQ

How does the movie end?
Was Megan in love with Yen?
What is 'The Bitter Tea of General Yen' about?
See more »
16 out of 20 people found the following review useful.
Despite the usual horrible casting, this is a very good film!, 8 June 2008
Author: planktonrules from Bradenton, Florida

Years ago I tried watching it off part-way through the film because I thought that the casting of Nils Asther as "General Yen" was ridiculous and rather insensitive since he looks about as Chinese as Nipsy Russell. However, on a second viewing I found that the movie STILL had a lot going for it. Plus, like it or not, casting Westerners in leading roles of Asian characters was the norm in the 1930s and 40s--there's no getting past this with only a very few exceptions.

What did I like about the film? Well, first off, despite being made in Hollywood, Columbia did an exceptional job in getting the look correct. Very impressive sets, costumes and convincing battle scenes all indicate that this was a top project for a studio which, at the time, was definitely a second-tier company. Heck, MGM and Warner would have been proud to make a movie that looked this good--and they were the "big money" studios. It certainly was a pretty film to look at and lovely cinematography sure helped as well.

Second, while the movie has some silly stereotypes, in a way it is also very modern compared to other pictures of the day. It dares to consider the possibility of interracial love (something banned when the new Production Code was put in place the following year) and despite initially come off as a demon, General Yen was quite decent and civilized in his own manner. He definitely was NOT some one-dimensional Asian caricature--having greater depth than you'd usually find in non-White characters of the day.

Finally, while odd and fully of bizarre twists, the plot really was pretty exciting and romantic. I especially loved the silly but majorly cool dream that Barbara Stanwyck had soon after Yen took her into protective custody! So, if you are looking for an unusual, pretty and very interesting film from Hollywood's golden era, then look no further. This is quite an unusual film and you won't soon forget it.

By the way, after watching this film, try SHANGHAI EXPRESS. While many of the plot elements are similar, notice how different Warner Oland's Chinese warlord character differs from Nils Asther's---there is quite the contrast.

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The tea (SPOILERS) BlackVelvetGlove
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