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The Bitter Tea of General Yen

The Bitter Tea of General Yen

Barbara Stanwyck
Director: Frank Capra Cast: Barbara Stanwyck
Barbara Stanwyck
, Nils Asther
Nils Asther
, Gavin Gordon
Gavin Gordon
Frank Capra


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The Bitter Tea of General Yen is the oddest, least characteristic talkie effort of director Frank Capra. Barbara Stanwyck stars as the intended of an American missionary (Gavin Gordon) who is sent to spread the good word in China. During a military revolution, Stanwyck and her fiance inadvertently wander into forbidden territory while trying to help a group of orphans escape. The couple is forcibly detained by elegant warlord General Yen (played by Swedish actor Nils Ashter), who relies upon the financial advice of drunken American expatriate Walter Connolly. Yen is overcome with desire at the sight of Stanwyck; at first repulsed by his attentions, Stanwyck finds herself strangely drawn in by his charisma. When everyone but Connolly deserts Yen when he needs them most, Stanwyck offers to stay behind with the General. Fearing that he will never be able to truly attain the woman he so loves, the honorable General Yen commits suicide by drinking poisoned tea rather than put her in harm's way. The one scene that everyone remembers takes place during one of Stanwyck's fevered dreams, in which she imagines Yen as a Fu Manchu-type rapist, who then melts into a gentle, courtly suitor. Directed with the exotic aplomb of a Josef von Sternberg by the usually down-to-earth Frank Capra, The Bitter Tea of General Yen was unfortunately a box office failure, due in great part to its miscegenation theme (this was still 1933). Even so, the film was chosen as the first attraction at the new Radio City Music Hall.

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Product Details

Release Date: 02/04/2014
UPC: 0043396437388
Original Release: 1933
Rating: NR
Source: Sony Pictures Home
Presentation: [B&W]
Time: 1:27:00
Sales rank: 46,767

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Barbara Stanwyck Megan Davis
Nils Asther Gen. Yen
Gavin Gordon Dr. Robert Strike
Toshia Mori Mah-Li
Walter Connolly Jones
Richard Loo Captain Li
Arthur Johnston Dr. Shuler
Lillian Leighton Actor
Arthur Millett Mr. Pettis
Ray Young Engineer
Lucien Littlefield Mr. Jackson
Helen Jerome Eddy Miss Reed
Emmett Corrigan Bishop Harkness
Willie Fung Officer
Adda Gleason Mrs. Bowman
Ella Hall Mrs. Hansen
Martha Mattox Miss Avery
Moy Ming Dr. Lin
Daisy Robinson Mrs. Warden
Robert Wayne Rev. Bostwick
Jessie Arnold Mrs. Blake
Clara Blandick Mrs. Jackson
Robert Bolder Missionary
Nora Cecil Missionary
Knute Erickson Dr. Hansen

Technical Credits
Frank Capra Director
C.C. Coleman Asst. Director
Edward A. Curtiss Editor
W. Franke Harling Score Composer
Robert Kalloch Costumes/Costume Designer
Edward E. Paramore Screenwriter
Edward Stevenson Costumes/Costume Designer
Joseph Walker Cinematographer
Walter Wanger Producer

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