Cinema: Madame Caterpillar

Beyond the Great Wall. During the Han Dynasty, there lived an Emperor named Yuan Ti with a harem as big as all the Playboy clubs. He tried manfully to give all his wives the personal touch, but there were so many he never got around to meeting them all. To remedy the situation, his highness had a court painter limn pictures of the girls, then present the likenesses to him. Those that passed the silk-screen test got to play the palace.

But the painter, though a good artist, was a bad man who demanded bribes from the girls and painted only those...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!