Wednesday, February 15, 2006

The Bitter Tea Of General Yen (1933)

He's whispering sweet nothings... No really, they were saying NOTHING. BLA BLA BLA!

Genre: War Drama... Romance?

Starring: Barbara Stanwyck (Double Indemnity; The Lady Eve), Nils Asther

Directed By: Frank Capra (Pocketful Of Miracles; It's A Wonderful Life)

Overview: An American woman is 'rescued' and put up in General Yen's Summer palace, until she can be safely returned home. Their relationship based on opposing philosophies grows until pressed to the extreme.

Acting: Too melodramatic and uninteresting. I know I'll be watching a few more Frank Capra films in the next few months, but I hope that this director's other films has him focusing a bit more on the characters. These ones were just overly stereotypical, not in an ignorant or racist way, just two dimensional.
Rating: 5

Cinematography: The combat scenes were good, the fires and the action was poignant enough, the sets and costumes were elaborate, but what was special about the visuals? Nothing.
Rating: 7

Script: I don't know if the fact that this is one of the first talkies I've watched in a while, or if it's because talkies are still fairly new in 1933 that they have to talk endlessly, but Holy God rambling on and on! The drawn out speeches hit a point where you say, "Yeah, yeah! I get it!" and then you'll just zone out. Bla Bla Bla!
Rating: 4

Plot: Didn't care for it much. The whole time I was waiting for this story to get back to the main storyline (the orphans and the fiancee) until I realized this wooing the white girl WAS the main story. The Mah-Li plot worked well, but in the end it just wasn't my kind of movie.
Rating: 4

Mood: You want to know what a mood killer is? Painting a Caucasian to look like a black man, that's pretty bad. So is giving a white guy some Mr. Spock eyebrows to make him look Chinese. But besides that the sets were opulently elaborate and the theme was well maintained throughout.
Rating: 7

The concubine is discovered to be a snitch. So Yen gives all her jewelry to the white girl. Nice eh?

Overall Rating: 54% (Not My Cup Of Tea)

Aftertaste: As soon as I started watching this I knew I would hate it. It was uncanny. My first though was, "Oh no, this thing is going to be some long-winded drawn out story that will bore me to the end." The whole time I was waiting for them to finally stop talking. This is a movie that your mom might like, but not this guy. Talkies, early talkies don't necessarily benefit from having voice, it's overdone in this one. Silence speaks volumes.