The Bitter Tea of General Yen (1933)
Turner Classic Movies (TCM) – Frank Capra immigrated from Bisacquino, Sicily, as a child and went on to become one of the great American success stories. After growing up in Los Angeles and serving in World War I, he found his calling in the burgeoning film industry of the early ’20s. Working at a variety of jobs, from lab assistant to film cutter to gag writer, Capra was promoted to director by silent comedian Harry Langdon, who scored several box-office hits with Capra at the helm.
Frank Capra is one of the most popular and beloved filmmakers of all time, but many of his earlier films have never been made available on DVD. Turner Classic Movies (TCM) and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment (SPHE) are joining forces with The Film Foundation on Frank Capra: The Early Collection, a box set of five 1930s pre-code Capra classics coming to DVD for the first time on Monday, September 3, 2012. Among the collection’s many special features are video introductions by TCM host Robert Osborne and Oscar®-winning filmmakers Martin Scorsese (Best Director, The Departed, 2006), Ron Howard (Best Director, A Beautiful Mind, 2001) and Michel Gondry (Best Original Screenplay, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, 2004), as well as audio commentaries by film historians Jeanine Basinger and Jeremy Arnold.
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- Rain or Shine (1930) – This rollicking comedy-drama follows the ups and downs of a struggling traveling circus. Joe Cook, Louise Fazenda, Joan Peers and William Collier Jr. star in this film, a non-musical version of a Broadway musical of the same name.
- Ladies of Leisure (1930) – This drama marked Frank Capra’s first collaboration with Barbara Stanwyck. The film tells of a Depression-era romance between a working-class model and a high-society artist, played by Ralph Graves. The film is based on the 1924 play Ladies of the Evening, written by Milton Herbert Gropper.
- The Miracle Woman (1931) – In this dramatic exposé of religious charlatans, Barbara Stanwyck stars as a female preacher modeled on Aimee Semple McPherson. David Manners co-stars as the blind man who falls in love with her.
- The Bitter Tea of General Yen (1933) – This once-controversial drama depicts an affair between the fiancée of an American missionary, played by Barbara Stanwyck, and a Chinese warlord, played by Nils Asther. Toshia Mori shines as General Yen’s concubine, Mah-Li. The film, which was the first ever to play Radio City Music Hall, also features a memorable dream sequence in which Yen seduces the young missionary. The interracial aspect of the story led the film to be banned in many areas where miscegenation laws were in place.
- Forbidden (1932) – This charming, romantic drama depicts the intense relationship between librarian Barbara Stanwyck and a wealthy married man, played by Adolphe Menjou. Ralph Bellamy and Dorothy Peterson co-star.
The collection also includes extensive on-screen digital bonus materials including production stills, behind-the-scenes photos, lobby cards, movie posters and more. The films in the collection demonstrate the first evidence of Capra’s emerging directorial style, his keen interest in subject matter that dealt with social issues and his ease at mastering any genre he tackled.
Jimmy Stewart narrates Frank Capra’s wonderful life story.
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