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302 Ratings

The Bitter Tea of General Yen

Directed by Frank Capra
United States, 1933
Romance, Drama, War


Megan Davis (Barbara Stanwyck) arrives in China to marry her missionary fiancé. The Chinese Civil War interrupts their wedding plans, and the couple is separated while trying to save endangered orphans. Chinese warlord General Yen rescues Davis after she faints but subsequently holds her captive.

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The Bitter Tea of General Yen Directed by Frank Capra

Critics reviews

Despite the criticism it’s received over the years—back then for its lurid depiction of miscegenation, nowadays for its flagrant Orientalism—it is arguably Capra’s masterpiece… Stylistically, this film is more impressive than anything he did before or after. With help from cinematographer and longtime collaborator Joseph Walker, its chiaroscuro lighting and informed framing are reminiscent of Sternberg.
January 16, 2015
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Frank Capra’s very atypical drama about an American missionary (Barbara Stanwyck) taken prisoner by a Chinese warlord (Nils Asther) is not only his masterpiece but also one of the great love stories to come out of Hollywood in the 30s—subtle, delicate, moody, mystical, and passionate.
September 01, 2006
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