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The General Died at Dawn (1936)

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Ratings: 6.7/10 from 658 users  
Reviews: 17 user | 13 critic

Amid the anarchy of China, an American mercenary tangles with a ruthless warlord.

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Title: The General Died at Dawn (1936)

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Nominated for 3 Oscars. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
O'Hara
...
Judy Perrie
...
General Yang
Dudley Digges ...
Mr. Wu
Porter Hall ...
Peter Perrie
...
Brighton
J.M. Kerrigan ...
Leach
Philip Ahn ...
Oxford
Lee Tung Foo ...
Mr. Chen (as Lee Tung-Foo)
Leonid Kinskey ...
Stewart
Val Duran ...
Wong
Willie Fung ...
Bartender
Hans Fuerberg ...
Yang's Military Advisor (as Hans Furberg)
John O'Hara ...
Newspaper Reporter
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Storyline

In revolution-torn China, American mercenary O'Hara is entrusted with a perilous mission, to get arms for the helpless authorities in a province ravaged by warlord General Yang. On the train to Shanghai, he meets Judy Perrie, whose father is in league with Yang. Will Judy regret agreeing to lure O'Hara to his doom, and if so, can she make it up to him? The balance of power seesaws to a perilous conclusion. Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

warlord | mercenary | china | See All (3) »


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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

30 October 1936 (Denmark)  »

Also Known As:

Chinese Gold  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The main character, O'Hara, is based on the real-life adventurer Morris "Two-Gun" Cohen (1887-1970). Born in Poland to a Jewish family, Cohen grew up in the tough streets of London's East End. As a teenager, he moved to western Canada and became a ranch hand and gambler in Saskatchewan, and later a highly successful real-estate agent in Alberta. During World War I he fought in Europe with the Canadian Railway Troops. His friendship with Chinese workers on the Canadian-Pacific Railroad prompted him to go to China in the 1920s. After negotiating a railroad deal with Dr. Sun Yat-sen, Cohen became a personal bodyguard to Sun and a trainer of Sun's private army. After Sun's death in 1925, Cohen ran guns for various Chinese warlords throughout the 1930s. When the Japanese invaded China in 1937, Cohen continued to supply Chinese resistance forces with arms and served with the British SOE. In 1941, following the fall of Hong Kong, he was captured by the Japanese and put in a prison camp, but was traded to the English in 1943 in a rare prisoner exchange. After the war, Cohen continued to operate in China as an agent for various British firms, including Rolls-Royce and Decca Radar. His former dealings with Chinese warlords kept him in good standing with Chinese Communist officials until his death in 1970. See more »

Goofs

While arguing with Peter, Judy slams a book down on the desk. A couple of other books on the corner of the desk disappear in a later scene. See more »

Quotes

O'Hara: I like people too much to shoot. But it's a dark year and a hard night.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The opening credits all appear on the sails of boats. See more »

Connections

Spoofed in A Coy Decoy (1941) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Hollywod At Its Very Best
25 December 2004 | by (Shediac River, New Brunswick) – See all my reviews

There are better films than The General Died at Dawn; however, there are few films that make so much out of so little. The story itself is little more than fond manipulation of Asian stereotypes. Yet Lewis Milestone takes the material and in his hands, it becomes a cinematic jewel. Watch how the round features of a minor Chinese actor becomes a doorknob and then a billiard ball. Note how multi-imaging creates a visual record of the story being told. Watch how the stylized performances of Cooper and Carroll are used as foil for the larger-than-life storyline.

Sure, there are better films than this. But there are very few better entertainments - a concept that Hollywood lost years ago and which is only now infiltrating the thick skulls of TV land.


8 of 10 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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