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China Seas (1935)

Passed  |   |  Action, Drama, Adventure  |  16 August 1935 (USA)
7.0
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 1,398 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.

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(screen play), (screen play), 6 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
China Doll
...
Jamesy MacArdle
...
Davids
...
Sybil
Dudley Digges ...
Dawson
...
Sir Guy
Robert Benchley ...
McCaleb
William Henry ...
Rockwell
Liev De Maigret ...
Mrs. Vollberg (as Live de Maigret)
Lilian Bond ...
Mrs. Timmons (as Lillian Bond)
Edward Brophy ...
Timmons
Soo Yong ...
Yu-Lan
Carol Ann Beery ...
Carol Ann
...
Romanoff
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Storyline

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 <garyjack5@cogeco.ca>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A challenge to all screen history!


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

16 August 1935 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Mares de China  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Jean Harlow wore a wig for this film. She had cut her hair shorter and was letting her natural color grow in. But for the scene where her character Dolly is soaked, the wig could not be used because it would look fake. Thus for a few seconds Harlow's hair is shorter and a different color. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

Sir Guy: [the police superintendent has just taken Dolly to court] What about a nip to cool that aching brow ?
Captain Alan Gaskell: No, no, fix one for yourself. I gotta get around to court. Somebody'll have to protect that judge.
See more »

Connections

Featured in MGM Greatest Moments: A Video Sampler (1987) See more »

Soundtracks

Chopsticks
(1877) (uncredited)
Music by Euphemia Allen
Played on piano by Robert Benchley
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A great story and a great cast
24 August 2001 | by (california) – See all my reviews

A great story and a great cast. If you set aside all the early Hollywood traps about racism and sexism, this is a terrific and watchable romance/adventure.

The story is very similar to Gable's later film, "Mogambo." He's the adventurous cad who loves two women - a beautiful ice-queen who represents his link to civilization (Russell); and the cute but stubborn and uncouth "woman of the world" who has the capacity to betray him when it suits her (Harlow). This movie is very well acted. I've always said that if you give Gable an affectation to fall back on, he does extremely well. Here, he's a barking sea captain, which, almost by accident, gives his performance a better range than it otherwise would have. I don't really like Harlow, but she's good in her role.

The editing is a bit strange - many closeups are too obviously added in later, but I guess I can partially forgive this because of the time it was made. It really shows how Harlow was on a roll when she was with the rest of the cast, though. Because these individual shots do not fit in with the movie at all.

There's some amazing effects during the typhoon sequence, with a steam engine running loose on the deck - and you actually see people get run over and flattened. It's disconcerting even though you realize the camera tricks involved. Very inventive for its day.


21 of 22 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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