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The Bitter Tea of General Yen (1932)

Approved | | Drama, Romance, War | 6 January 1933 (USA)
A Chinese warlord and an engaged Christian missionary fall in love.

Director:

Frank Capra (as Frank R. Capra)

Writers:

Grace Zaring Stone (from the story by), Edward E. Paramore Jr. (screen play) (as Edward Paramore)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Barbara Stanwyck ... Megan
Nils Asther ... Gen. Yen
Toshia Mori ... Mah-Li
Walter Connolly ... Jones
Gavin Gordon ... Bob
Lucien Littlefield ... Mr. Jacobson
Richard Loo ... Capt. Li
Helen Jerome Eddy ... Miss Reed
Emmett Corrigan Emmett Corrigan ... Bishop Harkness
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Storyline

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

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The flaming drama of a forbidden love that wrecked an empire! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance | War

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Mandarin | French

Release Date:

6 January 1933 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

La amargura del general Yen See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Columbia Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Chester Morris, Leo Carillo and Leslie Banks were all screen-tested, in full yellow-face makeup, for the title role of Gen. Yen. See more »

Quotes

Jones: Hello, how's the missionary racket?
See more »

Connections

Featured in The Lady with the Torch (1999) See more »

Soundtracks

Bridal Chorus (Here Comes the Bride)
(1850) (uncredited)
from "Lohengrin"
Written by Richard Wagner
Played by an unidentified organist at the wedding
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Interesting pre code drama
10 May 2013 | by jjnxn-1See all my reviews

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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