- Acting of Lead Performers
- Acting of Supporting Cast
- Music Score
- Title Sequence
- Historical Importance
- Would You Recommend?
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Great pre-code film by Capra
- Denise Bassen
A truly intelligent, adult love story with a great script, ahead-of-its-time cinematography, beautiful art direction and great cast. Philosophical and sensitive, this film could probably not have been made after the "code."The characters are cleanly drawn without caricature by the script, actors and director. The last two scenes between the missionary and the war lord capture the essence of transcendent love.
- Michi Jones
This is one of the finest movies of the 30's. Nils Asther's performance is underrated at best. I bought it last year, and have watched it over and over. I love Nils Asther. It is sad that he was not considered a major player in Hollywood. I watch this movie over and over--especially the scenes with Mr. Asther. So strange that a black woman could fall in love with a movie over 80 years old. Frank Capra was a genius; and proved his range by directing such a beautiful film.
Hard to believe this is Directed by Frank Capra
How did I ever miss this film? Mr. Sweet and Syrupy Capra proved he could direct a film that displays all the range of human virtues and fragilities. Set inside on of China's many civil wars, an unfulfilled interracial and philosophical love story. The collision course whose idea of human kindness is to shoot his prisoners as a favor to their dying by starvation. And missionary who is placed inside this maelstrom, and eventually goes to the General, who has lost his army, wealth and power, ready to submit to him. But the General choses to drink the bitter tea that sends him to another world. The choice to die before consummating their love is perhaps the most intriguing aspect of this film. One wonders how this film has been overlooked by the critics, and I, as a film buff, never viewed this film is also a mystery.
The Bitter of General Yen
- Dashiell Barnes
The first film to play at Radio City Music Hall. Stanwyck is a missionary held captive by Asther during a civil war in China, extraordinary performances from both. Initially a flop because of it's depiction of a interracial love, this theme is what has aged the film, the rest of the story is subtle, delicate & passionate. Capra's unsung masterpiece is one of the best love stories of the '30's. I give it a 4/5.
- Larry Lyons
This film explores the theme of interracial relations, faintly echoing Othello, but updated to reflect a time bitter civil war in China, and the personal prejudices involving race, on both sides. Way ahead of its time. A real must-see.
Dark, Different, Daring
If you're in the mood to watch something different, this is it. You can't go wrong with Stanwyck. She is terrific in this movie and so is the fellow who plays General Yen. It's worth watching just for the performances but the story is an interesting one. Not your typical love story but I'd call it romantic.
- Mr. Blandings
Given the tremendous themes and accomplished results of Capra's other films -- Lost Horizon, Wonderful Life, Mr. Smith, etc. -- it is a shocking revelation to find a Capra film that is as pointless and impotent as this one is. This movie had the opportunity to tear down the Christian arrogance of driving religion down the throats of "yellow swine" and completely blew it, instead cowardly backing away from the real issue by 1) presenting the missionary (Stanwyck) as far from pious to begin with; 2) presenting the Chinese character and culture as being more violent, warlike, and sexist than the western world (which, with its crusades, inquisitions, and puritanical witch hunts, is really saying something); 3) casting a Swedish actor in the role of General Yen for fear of showing an "interracial" relationship; and 4) backing out of any faux-interracial romance anyway, so what was the point?! This hour-and-a-half film feels two or three times that in length and I had to stop myself from nodding off several times during the course of it. Never thought I'd say that a Capra film was a complete waste of time but this one is definitely that. Also, so many people rave about Barbara Stanwyck but after seeing her in a half-dozen films so far, and being wholly unimpressed with her performances each and every time, it doesn't exactly make me want to rush out and give her another chance. However, in the case of this film I wanted to see it for Capra and not her, anyway, and now I am left doubly unimpressed. * out of *****
The Bitter Tea of General Yen
- Mark Sutch
The Bitter Tea of General Yen
- Sarah-LaRae Godwin
This is a powerful movie, and I enjoyed it very much! Barbara Stanwyck even looked sexy in one scene, and I found the actor portraying General Yen to be very goodlooking and full of sex appeal as well as an excellent actor. I would like to see more movies with him, and as always, I loved Barbara Stanwych and movies made before the Censors Code in l934! I must get it on a home video so I hope one is available soon.
The Bitter Tea of General yen
- Barbara Black
This wonderful movie is avaliable on VHS and DVD. Look around, it's worth it!
The Bitter Tea of General Yen
I always liked Barbara Stanwyck. But General Yen was terrific as the warlord. Very fascinating fellow. He was wise to take diction lesson. His intense and smooth sexy way is riveting. Shame his career didn't get bigger in USA.
A real classic
This film has been one of my favorites for years, such a shame that it isn't on DVD.
A gem from both Stanwyck and Capra
This film is a classic tragedy with an epic vision. In it, a racist Christian missionary tries to convert a Chinese warlord according to her rigid, puritanical sense of rightiousness. But it is she who is converted. Slowly, she realizes the narrowness of her American world view as she enters (through the love interest)an alien culture, ancient, highly civilized, and artistic, with many beliefs and values that reveal the shabbiness of her own.One of Capra's best, and same goes for Stanwyck.
Ahead of its time
The Bitter Tea of General Yen daringly attempts to transcend racial prejudice with its theme of Caucasian/Asian attraction. Even though the title role is played by a Swedish actor (Nils Asther) in Chinese guise, the film was seriously ahead of its time with its depiction of the covert passion between a warlord and a missionary. It has wit, flair and atmosphere. This should be available on DVD and is a must for anyone who appreciates drama with a twist. The metaphysical ending captures the imagination and lingers long after the film has ended. This is a rare treat. Pounce.
"The Bitter Tea Of General Yen" might be Frank Capra's finest film. It has none of the sentimentality that was his stock and trade. It has wonderful performances from the Great Stanwyck and Nils Asther (and Walter Connelly and Toshia Mori) and beautiful photography and atmosphere.It may be the most poetic film Capra ever made.
Three Stars is Right!
Barbara Stanwyke shines in the movie as a missionary trying to convert a Chinese General, who, having abducted her from her husband to be (on their wedding night no less), tries to "convert" her to him.A slow plot of the romantic sort and a little archaic, although a nice production for the time period.One "whoa nellie" observation - the American missionary to the Chinese is smoking a cigarette quite frequently. Not sure that's how woman missionaries handled themselves when trying to reach native Chinamen, even Generals, for Christ. That's one of the ironies of the film. Hollywood, apparently as usual, has the virtuous "Christian" succumb (or convert)to the heathen, worldly influence, rather than vice-versa (now that would be a plot) even 70 years ago.