Socially-conscious banker Thomas Dickson faces a crisis when his protégé is wrongly accused for robbing the bank, gossip of the robbery starts a bank run, and evidence suggests Dickson's wife had an affair...all in the same day.
The American missionary Megan Davis arrives in Shanghai during the Chinese Civil War to marry the missionary Dr. Robert Strife. However, Robert postpones their wedding to rescue some orphans in an orphanage in Chapei section that is burning in the middle of a battlefield. While returning to Shanghai with the children, they are separated in the crowd, Megan is hit in the head and knocked out, but is saved by General Yen and brought by train to his palace. As the days go by, the General's mistress Mah-Li becomes close to Megan and when she is accused of betrayal for giving classified information to the enemies, Megan asks for her life. The cruel General Yen falls in love for the naive and pure Megan and accepts her request to spare the life of Mah-Li against the will of his financial advisor Jones. Meanwhile Megan feels attracted by the powerful and gentle General Yen, but resists to his flirtation. When Mah-Li betrays General Yen and destroys his empire, Megan realizes that to be able ...Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Obviously a pre-code film since the subject of attraction between a white woman and an Asian man would be a taboo one for many years once the production code went into effect just after this film was released. Capra creates a mood piece with some compelling and strange imagery helped greatly by the excellent performances of the stars. The film is driven by Barbara Stanwyck, Capra's favorite leading lady and here it is easy to see why, she always delivered intense real work. Nils Asther is all but forgotten today but he really registers with a multifaceted performance. Considering the times in which it was made there may be portrayals which jar a modern viewer but if you are willing to take that into account this is quite an unusual picture.
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