Tuesday, June 03, 2008
Frank Capra's fascinating The Bitter Tea of General Yen on TCM at 2245 Pacific tonight as part of their series on the depictions of Asians in Hollywood...
"Barbara Stanwyck plays the fiancee of a missionary and finds herself captivated—in both senses of the word—by an Oxford-educated warlord (Nils Asther). The then-unthinkable romance between a Chinese man and a European woman made the film notorious; director Frank Capra even claimed that it was banned in England. It wasn't, writes Capra biographer Joseph McBride (The Catastrophe of Success), but the racist reaction to Bitter Tea can't be exaggerated: Variety noted, "Seeing a Chinaman attempting to romance with a pretty and supposedly decent young American white woman is bound to evoke adverse reaction." It's the best Von Sternberg movie Von Sternberg never made, and so very unlike Capra because of its sexuality..."
Posted by Peter at 7:12 AM