China Seas (1935)

Passed  |   |  Action, Drama, Adventure  |  16 August 1935 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 1,568 users  
Reviews: 25 user | 20 critic

When earthy Dolly Portland is rejected by Captain Gaskell in favor of a socialite, she aids Jamesy McCardle, in league with Malay pirates, in his plot to seize his ship.



(screen play), (screen play), 6 more credits »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Jamesy MacArdle
Dudley Digges ...
Sir Guy
Robert Benchley ...
William Henry ...
Liev De Maigret ...
Mrs. Vollberg (as Live de Maigret)
Mrs. Timmons (as Lillian Bond)
Edward Brophy ...
Soo Yong ...
Carol Ann Beery ...
Carol Ann


Dynamic Alan Gaskell captains a ship bound from Hong Kong to Singapore. Gaskell tries to turn over a new leaf from his hard-drinking lifestyle after becoming attached to a refined high class English lady, Sybil Barclay. His former girlfriend Dolly is extremely jealous of the budding relationship and tries hard to get the Captain back. He is apparently unimpressed with her loud, obnoxious, and uncivilized manners, even though she is extremely beautiful. After a temporary take over of the ship by gold-seeking Asian pirates, Captain Gaskell must deal with the fact that Dolly and her drinking pal, Jamesey MacArdle, are implicated in the crime. Written by Gary Jackson <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A challenge to all screen history!


Passed | See all certifications »




Release Date:

16 August 1935 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Mares de China  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


"The Screen Guild Theater" broadcast a 30 minute radio adaptation of the movie on December 4, 1944 with Clark Gable reprising his film role. See more »


During the storm when Jamesy MacArdle grabs China Doll and swings her around in his room towards his dresser at about the 48 minute mark, her dress strap comes down revealing what appears to be her bare breast. She quickly lifts her strap and continues. See more »


Sir Guy: I've had my eye on you for some time.
Captain Alan Gaskell: Well take it off... I'm quitting the China seas as soon as we dock.
See more »


Referenced in Bhowani Junction (1956) See more »


On the Road To Mandalay
(1907) (uncredited)
Music by Oley Speaks
Lyrics by Rudyard Kipling
Variation played as part of the score during the opening credits and at the end
See more »

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User Reviews

A solid, well-crafted film of MGM's Heyday
15 August 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

It is a relief to see a vibrantly entertaining film that is well-crafted as a finely made chair. Like most chairs, this film is no classic like "Citizen Kane" or "Gone With The Wind" but it's exciting with charismatic leads like Clark Gable and Jean Harlow. The chemistry between the two is gripping, even if a lot of their encounters in this movie are rather repetitious of the "I love you but I shouldn't" variety. One can see why Gable and Harlow were cast together at every opportunity MGM had from "Red Dust" onward. The other supporting actors are quite good especially Wallace Beery as a slippery villain. While Robert Benchley is quite amusing, his drunk act starts getting really old after a while. Also, it's quite sobering to realize that Benchley would die in 1945 from the effects of long-term alcoholism. In sum, despite some unhappy reminders of Hollywood's racism of times past, this is a fine film that probably served as one source of inspiration for Spielberg's Indiana Jones series of films in the 1980s.

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