7.1/10
2,968
52 user 32 critic

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)
Reviews

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Certificate: Passed Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

After an unappreciated minister dies, his daughter loses her faith in God, prompting her to open a phony temple with a con man. Can the love of a blind aviator restore her faith and happiness?

Director: Frank Capra
Stars: Barbara Stanwyck, David Manners, Sam Hardy
Forbidden (1932)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A librarian takes a cruise and falls for an unobtainable man, a district attorney married to a crippled woman.

Director: Frank Capra
Stars: Barbara Stanwyck, Adolphe Menjou, Ralph Bellamy
Certificate: Passed Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

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.

Directors: Frank Capra, Allan Dwan, and 1 more credit »
Stars: Walter Huston, Pat O'Brien, Kay Johnson
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A young woman from a very rich family impulsively marries a reporter, but each assumes the other is the one whose lifestyle must change.

Director: Frank Capra
Stars: Jean Harlow, Loretta Young, Robert Williams
Certificate: Passed Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

An upper-crust artist hires a 'party girl' as a model; romance follows.

Director: Frank Capra
Stars: Barbara Stanwyck, Ralph Graves, Lowell Sherman
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A gangster tries to make Apple Annie, the Times Square apple seller, a lady for a day.

Director: Frank Capra
Stars: Warren William, May Robson, Guy Kibbee
Crime | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Attractive Nan, member of a bank-robbery gang, goes to prison thanks to evangelist Dave Slade...who loves her.

Directors: Howard Bretherton, William Keighley
Stars: Barbara Stanwyck, Preston Foster, Lyle Talbot
Meet John Doe (1941)
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A man needing money agrees to impersonate a nonexistent person who said he'd be committing suicide as a protest, and a political movement begins.

Director: Frank Capra
Stars: Gary Cooper, Barbara Stanwyck, Edward Arnold
Broadway Bill (1934)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A runaway heiress and her sister's husband join forces to race the latter's fast horse, Broadway Bill.

Director: Frank Capra
Stars: Warner Baxter, Myrna Loy, Walter Connolly
Lost Horizon (1937)
Adventure | Drama | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A plane crash delivers a group of people to the secluded land of Shangri-La - but is it the miraculous utopia it appears to be?

Director: Frank Capra
Stars: Ronald Colman, Jane Wyatt, Edward Everett Horton
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A Parisian tailor finds himself posing as a baron in order to collect a sizeable bill from an aristocrat, only to fall in love with an aloof young princess.

Director: Rouben Mamoulian
Stars: Maurice Chevalier, Jeanette MacDonald, Charles Ruggles
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

An industrialist is urged to run for President, but this requires uncomfortable compromises on both political and marital levels.

Director: Frank Capra
Stars: Spencer Tracy, Katharine Hepburn, Van Johnson
Edit

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
Edit

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 »
Edit

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

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Jessie Perry is in studio records/casting call lists playing "Miss Reid," but that role was played by Helen Jerome Eddy. See more »

Quotes

Bishop Harkness: I've spent 50 years in China. And there are times when I think we're just a lot of persistent ants, trying to move a great mountain... Only last month, I learned a terrible lesson. I was telling the story of the Crucifixion to some Mongolian tribesmen. Finally, I... I thought I had touched their hearts. They crept closer to my little platform, their eyes burning with the wonder of their attention. Mongolian bandits, mind you - listening spellbound. But alas, I had misinterpreted their interest ...
[...]
See more »

Connections

References Nosferatu (1922) See more »

Soundtracks

Onward Christian Soldiers
(1871) (uncredited)
Music from "St. Gertrude" by Arthur Sullivan (1871)
Lyrics by Sabine Baring-Gould (1865)
Sung by an unidentified quartet at the wedding
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
Despite the usual horrible casting, this is a very good film!
8 June 2008 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

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.


19 of 26 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 52 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page



Recently Viewed