Yuan Shikai (Yuan Shih-k'ai, President of China between 1912-1916) once tried to set himself up as a monarch in a return to the old Chinese imperial system -- abolished by the 1911 revolution. This film has one of his generals, Cai E (Ts'ai E ) plotting to turn the tables on Shikai and overthrow him before he can do any danger to the newly-established democratic republic. General Cai is helped by an imperial courtesan, Fengxian (Feng Hsien) who reverses her loyalty to Yuan Shikai. Both the general and the courtesan carry on a love affair, set against the backdrop of the revolution and Shikai's treachery.
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