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Barbara Stanwyck

The Bitter Tea of General Yen

In Frank Capra’s 1932 drama, Stanwyck plays a missionary in China who’s rescued by a war lord.

Image from The Bitter Tea of General Yen

USA 1932
Dir Frank Capra
With Barbara Stanwyck, Nils Asther, Gavin Gordon, Toshia Mori
87min
Digital
Certificate PG

In Capra’s artiest movie, Stanwyck plays a missionary in China who’s rescued during a Civil War incident by a local warlord (Swedish actor Asther, heavily made up), who soon falls in love with her. Still controversial – this is an early attempt to deal sympathetically with interracial sexual attraction – The Bitter Tea of General Yen is a heady brew of boldly exotic eroticism that’s both strange and sensuously cinematic.


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