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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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
On The High Seas Of Adventure With Gable, Harlow & Beery
British Hong Kong, mid 1930's. A freighter makes ready to lift anchor on its way to Singapore, carrying with it £250,000 in hidden gold. The passengers & crew are a colorful mix of often violent hatreds & animosities. Traveling into typhoon-swept, pirate-haunted waters, danger & death awaits all those who enter the CHINA SEAS.
While admittedly the plot is a little far-fetched, this was one of the great all-star features which MGM did so well during its heyday. The sets are lavish (especially the bustling docks) and except for the occasional use of a model, the ship scenes look realistic.
The cast is made-up of some of the Studio's best: Clark Gable as the captain - given to drink & homesick for England, he must choose between the two women he loves; Jean Harlow, the brassy blonde with too much past, passionate in defense of her man; Wallace Beery, gambler & exporter, bluff, hearty & treacherous; Rosalind Russell, the English society girl, cool & beautiful.
Rounding out the excellent supporting cast are Lewis Stone, as an old ship's officer accused of cowardice; Robert Benchley as a perpetually inebriated American novelist; Edward Brophy & Lillian Bond as American tourists who attract the notice of lustful Russian swindler Akim Tamiroff; and wonderful old Sir C. Aubrey Smith, as the founder of the shipping line.
Film mavens will spot uncredited performances by Willie Fung as a cabin boy; Donald Meek as a chess player; Emily Fitzroy as a gossipy passenger; and especially Hattie McDaniel, hilarious as Harlow's maid.
On a side note, one of the writers for this film was Paul Bern, an important MGM producer & Harlow's husband. His 1932 murder by his deranged common-law spouse, made to look like a suicide by MGM security to protect Harlow's career, would provide one of Hollywood with one of its most famous scandals.
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