The Bitter Tea of General Yen (1933) Poster


Swedish actor Nils Asther played General Yen. Asian actors were never cast in lead roles in American productions at the time. Although multilingual, Asther did not speak Mandarin. However, he did use a Mandarin dialect for the part.
This movie was the first to play at Manhattan's fabled showplace, Radio City Music Hall, beginning on January 11, 1933.
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).
The sets for this film were reused for Columbia's One Night of Love (1934).
Jessie Perry is in studio records/casting call lists playing "Miss Reid," but that role was played by Helen Jerome Eddy.
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