"There isn’t a General Yen or Megan Davis, but just you and me."
The most complex movie of Capra and a magnificent film that is flying under the radar. Starts as american idealism against chinese pragmatism (“This fool prefers civil war to the loving arms of his bride.”) but develops into a love-in- spite-of-prejudice story that is hard to forget.
There's no corn from Capra in this extraordinary slice of pre-Hays Code exotica, an atypical melodrama for a director famed for championing the common man. The story of a missionary kidnapped by a Chinese warlord is graced by lovely production design and cinematography and resembles the movies von Sternberg was making with Dietrich over at Paramount at the same time. And Babs, of course, is her usual wonderful self..
Whoa! Who knew Capra could direct with this kind of Sternbergian erotic intensity? The film powerfully captures Americans' simultaneous fascination and revulsion with the Orient. This theme is most purely and forcefully conveyed by that astonishing dream sequence - the Chinese as Nosferatu / the Chinese as Zorro.
One of the most open minded Pre-Code films I've seen, in which the oriental culture is not solely ridiculed, but also given a chance to show its worth compared to Christianity. The weird dreams Megan has of Yen makes it no ordinary romance too, but a rather vulgar and unclear one. Full of practical philosophical depth and interesting characters like Jones, making this a beautiful story in a relatively unbiased way.
What a marvelous,daring,dark and intringuin drama.A movie to watch again and again and always feel how astonishing it is.I loved every thing and every second:The chinese cenarios,the double crossing concubine.Nils Ashter,the renegade,that daring Barbara and those beautiful last lines of the Renegade.
Monumental Chinxploitation of mythic proportions, this elaborate troll, via lens of Occidental Christianity against itself (Yen as ultimate romantic martyr) borders quasi-excessive amidst its skins of racial irony. Trolldom in using intricately sensual ornamentation, of demure psychosexuality in miscegenetic exotica, to eventually expose a most delicate true love brings about an interwoven complexity unprecedented.
It has to be the most overlooked and underrated film in Capra's entire body of work. It seems to be completely forgotten but it is the near top of my list of Capra favorites. Great storytelling and the film has a great look.