6.6/10
932
19 user 15 critic

The General Died at Dawn (1936)

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

Director:

Lewis Milestone

Writers:

Clifford Odets (screen play), Charles G. Booth (based on a story by)
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Nominated for 3 Oscars. See more awards »

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Cast

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


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

30 October 1936 (Denmark) See more »

Also Known As:

Chinese Gold See more »

Filming Locations:

China See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount 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

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. Yat-sen Sun, 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: [to Judy] Let me tell you, dreamboat. Don't think I fell for you. A tree with a flower on: I'd've fallen for that, the way I was feeling. A fish on a dish would-a got me.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

Connections

Spoofed in The Major Lied 'Til Dawn (1938) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Dark and wonderful
6 October 2011 | by kalismandanielSee all my reviews

I was surprised at the low rating for this film at IMDb, 6.7 as of this writing. I found it a very enjoyable film. I'm a sucker for strong, moody visuals, and this film sure has them. In fact, about half way through I began to wonder, with all the shadows and fishing nets, if this were a Von Sternberg film. The script, which some reviewers found too wordy or too preachy, I found very engaging. The pacing was excellent.

Some reviewers have taken offense at the two main Chinese characters being played by occidentals who spoke pigeon English. Well, that's how films were made back then. Sure it seems unfair to modern viewers. It was unfair. Is that reason to trash the whole film? The Asian actors who had speaking roles came across as intelligent and well spoken.

If you're in the mood for some dark, exotic espionage, I definitely recommend this.


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