in about 100 words or less
USA 88m, B&W
Director: Frank Capra; Cast: Barbara Stanwyck, Nils Asther, Toshia Mori, Walter Connolly
Despite the fact that The Bitter Tea of General Yen is an interesting and well-produced film that had progressive views toward the Asian characters and culture which it portrayed, the film nevertheless suffers from some of these very same views which are now out-dated. Notwithstanding the Swedish actor Nils Ashter’s engaging performance as General Yen, the casting of a non-Asian for the title role remains this film’s major flaw as it was for Griffith’s 1919 film Broken Blossoms, when actor Richard Barthelmess was cast in a similar role. However, unlike Broken Blossoms, Bitter Tea is a sophisticated film with an interesting social and human commentary that is entertaining and provocative from within its historical and political contexts (Klaus Ming June 2009).